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The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul

Out of Print

By: Paul M Churchland

329 pages, Figs

MIT Press

Hardback | Dec 1995 | #54553 | ISBN: 0262032244
Out of Print Details

About this book

A new picture of the mind is emerging and explanations now exist for what has so long seemed mysterious. In this work, Churchland brings together a broad range of intellectual issues. He summarizes results from neuroscience and recent work with artificial neural networks that together suggest a unified set of answers to questions about how the brain actually works; how it sustains a thinking, feeling, dreaming self; and how it sustains a self-conscious person. The book first explains the science - the powerful role of vector coding in sensory representation and pattern recognition, artificial neural networks that imitate parts of the brain, recurrent networks, neural representation of the social world and diagnostic technologies and therapies for the brain in trouble. It then explores the far-reaching consequences of the current neurocomputational understanding of mind for our philosophical convictions, and for our social, moral, legal, medical and personal lives. Churchland introduces the presentational power of a single human brain, for instance, via a brain/World-Trade-Tower TV screen analogy. "Who can be watching this pixilated show?" Churchland queries; the answer is a provocative "no one." The book includes a folded stereoscopic viewer, attached to the inside back cover, that readers can use to participate directly in several revealing experiments concerning stereo vision.


Contents

Part 1 The little computer that could - the biological brain: introduction; sensory representation - the incredible power of vector; vector processing - how it works and why it is essential; artificial neural networks - imitating parts of the brain; recurrent networks - the conquest of time; the neural representation of the social world; the brain in trouble - cognitive dysfunction and mental illness. Part 2 Exploring the consequences - philosophical, scientific, social and personal: the puzzle of consciousness; could an electronic machine be conscious?; language, science, politics and art; neurotechnology and human life.

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