Important Book

In addition to “How The Dog Became The Dog” by Mark Derr, which is a stunning affirmation of the hunting paradigm in the domestication of the dog, I would like to call your attention to the book “Incomplete Nature” by Terrence Deacon. While this is a complex book that will be difficult for me to review, instead, I intend to quote various passages from this as well as Derr’s book. I was stunned and gratified to read Deacon using Newton and emotion in the same sentence.

The Jacket copy of “Incomplete Nature” offers a very good summary:

“As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The “Theory of Everything” that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties–such as mass, momentum, charge and location–that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a “theory of everything” that does not leave it absurd that we exist.

‘Incomplete Nature’ begins by opting what other theories try to deny: that, although mental contents do indeed lack these material-energetic properties, they are still entirely products of physical processes and have an unprecedented kind of causal power that is unlike anything that physics and chemistry alone have so far explained. Paradoxically, it is the intrinsic incompleteness of these semiotic and teleological phenomena that is the source of their unique form of physical influence in the world. ‘Incomplete Nature’ meticulously traces the emergence of this special causal capacity from simple thermodynamics to self-organizing dynamics to living and mental dynamics, and it demonstrates how specific absences (or constraints) play the critical causal role in the organization of physical processes that generate these properties.”

In other words, things are not the way they seem.

Published November 12, 2011 by Kevin Behan
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2 responses to “Important Book”

  1. Brian Donovan says:

    Hi, Kevin.

    Very nice quote from Edelman’s book. But I checked, and the book is not due until February in 2012. Am I missing something?

    By the way, I am a new reader of your website (and have the book ‘Natural Dog Training’ on order), but find your approach most interesting. I am starting to train a border collie cross (two-and-a-half years old) and need all the help WE can get!


  2. kbehan says:

    Welcome to NDT, thanks for checking in. Also not sure which quote you’re referring to.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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