Publication—Book Series “On Thinking”


Parmenides Book Series published by Springer

The Parmenides Foundation launched its book series On Thinking in 2009. Editors of the series are Prof. Dr. Ernst Pöppel and Prof. Dr. Albrecht von Müller, directors of the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking and the Parmenides Center for Art and Science. Each volume is edited by different volume editors.

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The first volume Neural Correlates of Thinking is edited by Eduard Kraft, Ernst Pöppel – both Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking in Munich – and Balázs Gulyás, a neuroscientist at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

The book aims to provide an overview of present attempts to identify neural mechanisms underlying thinking and reasoning operations. It is a concise introduction into the potential and limitations of imaging techniques to shed light on the question of how human thinking is implemented in the brain.


The second volume Towards a Theory of Thinking pursues a multidisciplinary approach and presents a diverse range of perspectives on thinking from philosophy, experimental and developmental psychology, neuro- and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics, evolutionary anthropology and biology. The underlying hypothesis is that a fully-fledged multi-layer theory of thinking must be drawing on all of these disciplines, methodologies, and different levels of investigation and explanation.
Editors of the second volume are Britt Glatzeder, Vinod Goel, and Albrecht von Müller. Vinod Goel is professor of cognitive neuroscience at York University, Toronto; Britt Glatzeder and Albrecht von Müller are both doctors of philosophy at the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking. The second volume has been released in March 2010.



The third volume Culture and Neural Frames of Cognition and Communication addresses the issue how thinking and the underlying neural mechanisms are affected by culture and identity. Cultural neuroscience combines brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and event-related brain potentials with methods of social and cultural psychology to investigate whether and how cultures influence the neural mechanisms of perception, attention, emotion, social cognition, and other human cognitive processes. The findings of cultural neuroscience studies improve our understanding of the relation between human brain function and sociocultural contexts and help to reframe the “big question” of nature versus nurture. This book is organized so that two chapters provide general views of the relation between biological evolution, cultural evolution and recent cultural neuroscience studies, while other chapters focus on several aspects of human cognition that have been shown to be strongly influenced by sociocultural factors such as self-concept representation, language processes, emotion, time perception, and decision-making. 

Editors of the third volume are Shihui Han and Ernst Pöppel. Shihui Han is a professor at the Department of Psychology and the director of the Cultural and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Peking University. Ernst Pöppel is a brain researcher, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Center for Human Sciences, and former Director of the Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich. He is also co-director of Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking. The third volume has been released in January 2011.



The fourth volume The Forgotten Present. Re-thinking Time at the Interface of Physics and Philosophy addresses our deepest and most personal experience of the world, the experience of “the present,” from a modern perspective combining physics and philosophy. Many prominent researchers have contributed articles to the volume, in which they present models and express their opinions on and, in some cases, also their skepticism about the subject and how it may be (or may not be) addressed, as well as which aspects they consider most relevant in this context.

While Einstein might have once hoped that “the present” would find its place in the theory of general relativity, in a later discussion with Carnap he expressed his disappointment that he was never able to achieve this goal. This collection of articles provides a unique overview of different modern approaches, representing not only a valuable summary for experts, but also a nearly inexhaustible source of profound and novel ideas for those who are simply interested in this question. 

Editors of the fourth volume are Thomas Filk and Albrecht von Müller. Thomas Filk is a professor for theoretical physics at Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany. Albrecht von Müller is the director of the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking. The fourth volume was released May 24, 2015 and can be ordered here.



The fifth volume The Challenge to Re-juvenate Democracy and the Possible Role of Technology in Responding to it will feature four main sections:

1) The Need to Re-juvenate Democracy

2) The Spectrum of Conceptual Approaches

3) Technology as an Enabling Factor for New Forms of Democracy

4) Outlines of a Democracy Innovation Lab

Democracy is confronted with several huge challenges. The best brains are often no longer prepared to engage for politics. The circumstances of today’s party politics are too opaque and tedious for them. An increasing number of voters disregards their right to vote – for which so many generations have fought so courageously - as “the right to choose between differently coloured garbage bags”, i.e. they miss the opportunity to articulate their preferences in a more detailed manner. Often this overall frustration results in not or ‘amok’ voting. All these developments are serious threats to modern democracy. The situation is further complicated as governments, indeed, seem often incapable to tackle the big challenges of the 21st century in an intelligent and decisive manner.

The task of this volume is to find and emphasize ways how the means of modern information technology in combination with the novel possibilities of Cognostics can be utilized for rejuvenating democracy. The emphasis in this effort is on allowing for a new type of a high-quality, fascinating, in-depth discussion of the big, structural challenges to our societies. The goal is to re-attract the best brains to the ‘res publica’. New forms of higher resolution online voting are subsequent options. But initially, the focus is on a fundamentally improved quality of political discourse.  

Editors of the fifth volume are Oliver Hidalgo, Albrecht von Müller and Andreas Ströhle. The volume will be released in 2016.