The Mind and the Brain cover

The Mind and the Brain

Alfred Binet (1857-1911)

1. 01 – The Definition of Matter: Introduction
2. 02 – The Definition of Matter: Our Knowledge of External Objects only Sensation
3. 03 – The Definition of Matter: The Mechanical Theories of Matter are only Symbols
4. 04 – The Definition of Matter: Answers to some Objections, and Summary
5. 05 – The Definition of Mind: The Distinction Between Cognition and It’s Object
6. 06 – The Definition of Mind: Definition of Sensation
7. 07 – The Definition of Mind: Definition of the Image
8. 08 – The Definition of Mind: Definition of the Emotions
9. 09 – Definition of the Consciousness – The Relation Subject-Object
10. 10 – Definition of the Consciousness – Categories of the Understanding
11. 11 – Definition of the Consciousness – The Separability of the Consciousness from its Object – Discussion of Idealism
12. 12 – Definition of the Consciousness – The Separation of the Consciousness from its object – The Unconscious
13. 13 – The Definition of Mind: Definitions of Psychology
14. 14 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: The Mind Has an Incomplete Life
15. 15 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: Spiritualism and Idealism
16. 16 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: Materialism and Parallelism
17. 17 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: Modern Theories
18. 18 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: Conclusion
19. 19 – The Union of the Soul and the Body: Recapitulation

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Today, almost every layperson understands the concept of intelligence tests and can glibly discuss IQ scores. In fact, these have become so common in the popular imagination that magazines, websites and pop quizzes offer to assess your intelligence at the drop of a hat! In this scenario, it's interesting to recall the very first person who proposed the concept of measurable intelligence. Alfred Binet was basically a clinical psychologist whose wide-ranging interests in learning difficulties faced by school children prompted him to undertake extensive studies in human cognition, psychology, learning and behavior. Though he initially trained to become a lawyer, he moved to medicine and then into a largely self-taught area of psychology, which arose from his keen interest in human beings. His work also further evolved into deeply philosophical and spiritual areas of life. The Mind and The Brain was published in 1907, a few years after Alfred Binet began working on his famous intelligence scale in collaboration with his assistant Theodore Simon. In 1899, Binet took up the task of studying the relationship between education, the child and human psychology by the French government. The country had taken huge steps in progressive ideas about education and made it compulsory for every child to attend school between the ages of six and fourteen. It was noticed that many children were unable to cope with the normal curriculum and Binet and his committee began to work on creating a special curriculum for them so that their special needs could be addressed. Tests and experiments were conducted and the first Binet-Simon scale for measuring intelligence was created in 1905. Given this background, The Mind and The Brain attempts to answer questions about the Mind or the internal world of the human being, and Matter or the external environment around us. How we view, experience, internalize and symbolize objects and other people is one of the fundamental ideas explored here. Binet attempts to define what is knowledge, what is knowable and how we classify objects in the external world. The only way we experience the external world is through our sensations, and these can be notoriously erroneous. Emotions, the consciousness, spiritualism, idealism and materialism and the modern theories associated with these are the subjects tackled by Alfred Binet. The philosophical nature of the book and the concepts expounded in it make it both an interesting and important book for any reader who seeks to know the relationship between the Self and the Other.