Although cognitive science has obtained abundant data on neural and brain processes, we are far from understanding what happens when we see color, recognize a face, or recall a memory. In this book Sunny Auyang tackles what she calls "the large pictures of the human mind," exploring the relevance of cognitive science findings to everyday mental life. Auyang proposes a model of an "open mind emerging from the self-organization of infrastructures," which she opposes to the "closed mind controlled by mind designers" of cognitive science. Her model consists of three parts: 1) a mind open to the world; 2) mind's infrastructure, the unconscious processes studied by cognitive science; and 3) emergence, the relation between the open mind and its infrastructure.

At the heart of Auyang's model is the open mind making its environment intelligible. The open mind feels, thinks, recognizes, believes, doubts, anticipates, fears, speaks, and listens. Cognitive scientists refer to the "binding problem," the question of how myriad unconscious processes combine into the unity of consciousness. Auyang approaches the problem from the other end--by starting with everyday experience rather than with the infrastructure. In so doing, she shows how cognitive science can help us to understand ourselves as autonomous subjects.


  1.  Introduction
 1.    The Emergence of Mind
 2.    The Openness of Mind
2.  The Prevailing Theory of Mind and Its Discontents

 3.    Genesis of the Prevailing Theory
 4.    The Closed Mind as Brain or Computer
 5.    The Control Power of Mind Designers
 6.    Mind Engaged in and Open to the World
3.  The Emergence of Mind From Its Infrastructures
 7.    Towards a Self-consistent Model of Mind
 8.    The Mental Infrastructure: Locus of Cognitive Science
 9.    How Scientists Probe Infrastructural Processes
10.   The Connection Between Mind and its Infrastructure
11.   The General Notion of Emergence
12.   The Emergence of the Unity of Consciousness
13.   Situated Properties and the Engaged-personal Level
4.  How Far is Mind Analyzable? Language and Modularity

14.   Universal Grammar and Its Interpretations
15.   Syntactic Competence and Its Infrastructure
5.  Making Things Intelligible: Concepts in Perception

16.   Two-way Traffic in the Visual Infrastructure
17.   Open, Closed, and Ecological Theories of Perception
6.  Making Time Intelligible: Constructive Memory 

18.   More than Files on a Wet Disk
19.   Giving Meanings to the Past and the Future
7.  Making Purposes Intelligible: Emotion and Reason

20.   From Bodily Feeling to Motivation
21.   Impulsive and Cognitive Circuits Underlying Emotion
8.  Mind Open To The World

22.   How Is the Intelligibility of the World Possible?
23.   Intelligence, Consciousness, Intentionality
24.   Possibility: Opening the Informative Horizon
25.   Perspectives and the Objectivity of Experiences
26.   Subjectivity, Intersubjectivity, Community
27.   The Intelligible World: Everyday and Scientific
28.   Language, Narrative, Freedom of Action
Appendix.  The Human Brain
  Mind in Everyday Life
and Cognitive Science

Sunny Y Auyang
MIT Press

ISBN 0-262-01181-6
$ 49.95 hardcover
529 pages