Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives
Routledge – 2012 – 350 pages
Richard Gross turns his expert eye to the psychology of human nature in a contemplative account encompassing cognition, consciousness, language, time perception, sense of mortality and human society. This book will help you to consider the unique aspects of being human and to understand the biological underpinnings for the intriguing and distinct behaviours and experiences common to human beings.
The book is enhanced throughout by:
- its logical arrangement of topics, with key questions, issues for additional focus and reflection points highlighted throughout
- useful chapter introductions and summaries to provide clarity and insight
- diagrams to help explain difficult concepts
- detailed selection of references and useful sources including works from the fields of psychology, philosophy, religion and literature
Being Human is an ideal textbook for courses in conceptual and historical issues in psychology and is also essential reading for students of psychology and related disciplines as well as general readers seeking insights into one of the most enduring questions to have faced humankind throughout history.
"In this book Richard Gross presents an unbiased look at a variety of arguments for and against the ‘uniqueness’ of human nature from a number of perspectives. Whether your interest lies in genetics, cognition, language, time-perception, culture or more existential questions surrounding the meaning of life, you will be sure to find this book captures your imagination. … Despite being only 335 pages long this book is packed full of information. The comprehensive chapters are logically structured beginning with ‘key questions’, moving on to information and examples punctuated by diagrams of difficult concepts and boxes highlighting key studies, frequently incorporating ‘time for reflection’ to encourage readers to think about and question the content presented, and finishing with a detailed summary of the chapter contents and suggestions for wider reading. While the book is primarily recommended for students of psychology and perfectly complements Richard Gross’s Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour, I would say it is equally enlightening for anyone who has ever stopped to think: what is it that makes us human? Though don’t be surprised if the book raises just as many questions as it answers!" - Amy Burton, Research Associate, Aston University, UK, in The Psychologist
"Richard Gross has done an excellent job compiling all the relevant information into a "right-riveting-accessible-read." The book … combines the psychological and philosophical agreeably without bias and really makes you think about what makes us humans special. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever thought about themselves, their mind and why we do the things we do; or anyone who needs an initial outlook on human uniqueness in general." - J. Rumsby (Amazon reviewer)
1. Introduction: Quantitative or qualitative difference?
2. The genetics of being human
3. The human brain: What makes it so special?
4. Consciousness and self-consciousness
5. Cognition: Hauser's hypothesis
6. Language: Do only humans have it?
7. Memory and the perception of time
8. Fear of death and other 'facts of life'
9. Culture: The crucial feature?