Sean Silver’s purpose in this brilliant, profoundly original book is to show how the founding division of eighteenth-century thought—the establishment of dualism, the construction of mind as distinct from body, and by extension the empiricist division of observer from object—is based, paradoxically, on a much deeper set of material entanglements. A range of Enlightenment writers, argues Silver, beginning with Locke, lean back against real-world models for the human mind to think about how they think. Invariably they use material metaphors to describe cognitive processes: the mind is a mechanism of secret springs and wheels; it is a landscape with well-worn pathways; and it is a cabinet in which we order sensible objects. The Mind is a Collection shows us a deeply satisfying new way of reading those metaphors, and of tracing those half-concealed entanglements. The thinkers discussed...

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