Mind and Value

  • Nathaniel F. BarrettEmail author
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 2)


Within cognitive science, most accounts of value define it as the product of a special subsystem or structure which is extrinsic to basic mental functions of acting, perceiving, and knowing. Not only do such attempts fail to account for our experience of value, but they also fail to recognize the fundamental role of value in all mentality and the corresponding need for value to be grounded in the world. In search of a better account, this chapter explores a naturalistic but non-reductive approach to value based on the American traditions of pragmatism and process philosophy, especially as represented by the works of John Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead. Rather than attempt to objectify value by denuding it of subjective character, this approach seeks to formulate a general notion of valuation that extends certain value-related characteristics of subjectivity—such as selectivity and differential importance—to all natural processes. The essay also explores the possibility that the ubiquitous phenomenon of collective dynamics, now the focus of several non-reductive research programs in cognitive science, exhibits these very same value-related characteristics.


Value Whitehead Dewey Neurodynamics Freeman Neville 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mind-Brain Group, Institute for Culture and Society (ICS)University of NavarraPamplonaSpain

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