Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain

Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain

by Paul M. Churchland
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Overview

Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain by Paul M. Churchland


"Paul Churchland's The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul is an outstanding philosophical achievement, integrating artificial intelligence, brain neurology, cognitive psychology, ethnology, epistemology, scientific method, and even ethics and aesthetics, into an interlocking whole."
-- W.V. Quine, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

"...The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul [is] a very important book full of tantalizing and astute observations and insights about consciousness, thinking and thought. Its sweep encompasses morality, politics, the arts, education, penology, psychiatry and the very nature of freedom itself. This is a book to be reckoned with."
-- Los Angeles Times

A new picture of the mind is emerging, and explanations now exist for what has so long seemed mysterious. This real understanding of how the biological brain works -- of how we work -- has generated a mood of excitement that is shared in a half-dozen intersecting disciplines. Philosopher Paul Churchland, who is widely known as a gifted teacher and expository writer, explains these scientific developments in a simple, authoritative, and pictorial fashion. He not only opens the door into the ongoing research of the neurobiological and connectionist communities but goes further, probing the social and moral dimensions of recent experimental results that assign consciousness to all but the very simplest forms of animals.

In a fast-paced, entertaining narrative, replete with examples and numerous explanatory illustrations, Churchland brings together an exceptionally broad range of intellectual issues. He summarizes new 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.

Churchland 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. He 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's wry wit and skillful teaching style are evident throughout. He introduces the remarkable representational power of a single human brain, for instance, via a captivating brain/World-Trade-Tower TV screen analogy. "Who can be watching this pixilated show?" Churchland queries; the answer is a provocative "no one." And he has included a folded stereoscopic viewer, attached to the inside back cover of the book, that readers can use to participate directly in several revealing experiments concerning stereo vision.

A Bradford Book


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262032247
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 05/28/1995
Edition description: BK&VIEWER
Pages: 342
Product dimensions: 7.33(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.03(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi
I The Little Computer that Could: The Biological Brain 1(184)
1 Introduction
3(18)
The Newly Transparent Brain
3(2)
How the Brain Represents the World: General Features
5(1)
How the Brain Represents the World: Fleeting Features
6(1)
Brains versus TV Screens
7(1)
Computation in the Brain: Pattern Transformation
8(3)
The Cunning of Reason: Parallel Distributed Processing
11(1)
Speed and Power
11(2)
Functional Persistence
13(2)
Toward More Lifelike Cognitive Capacities
15(1)
Theory and Experiment: Historical Parallels
16(2)
Reworking the Mirror of Our Self Conception
18(1)
The Aim of This Book
19(2)
2 Sensory Representation: The Incredible Power of Vector Coding
21(14)
Taste Coding
21(3)
Color Coding
24(2)
Smell Coding
26(1)
Face Coding
27(8)
3 Vector Processing: How It Works and Why It Is Essential
35(22)
Where and How Are Faces Coded?
35(1)
Simple Pattern Recognition
36(2)
Face Recognition
38(4)
Network Learning: Repeated Synaptic Adjustment
42(3)
Performance in the Trained Network
45(1)
Internal Coding and Distributed Representations
46(3)
The Emergence of Categories
49(4)
Inductive Inference, Network Style
53(4)
4 Artificial Neural Networks: Imitating Parts of the Brain
57(40)
Entering the Third Dimension: Stereoscopic Vision
57(1)
The Neuroanatomy of Stereoscopic Vision
58(4)
How Stereoscopic Vision Works
62(5)
Expanding One's Visual Grip on the World
67(4)
Fusion.net: A Network with Stereo Vision
71(8)
Submarine Intrigue: A Network for Sonar Perception
79(5)
NETtalk: A Network that Reads Aloud
84(7)
Vector Coding at the Output End: Sensorimotor Coordination
91(6)
5 Recurrent Networks: The Conquest of Time
97(26)
The Temporal Dimension of Behavior
97(7)
Recognizing Causal Processes
104(3)
Ambiguous Figures and Recurrent Modulation
107(7)
Recognition, Theoretical Understanding, and Scientific Progress
114(9)
6 The Neural Representation of the Social World
123(28)
Social Space
123(2)
EMPATH: A Network for Recognizing Human Emotions
125(2)
Social Features and Prototypical Sequences
127(1)
Are There "Social Areas" in the Brain?
128(4)
The Human Capacity for Language
132(5)
Recurrent Networks for Grammatical Discrimination
137(6)
Moral Perception and Moral Understanding
143(8)
7 The Brain in Trouble: Cognitive Dysfunction and Mental Illness
151(34)
Diagnostic Techniques: The Literally Transparent Brain
151(1)
CAT Scans
152(1)
PET Scans
152(2)
MRI Scans
154(4)
Apraxia and Motor Dysfunction
158(5)
Perceptual and Cognitive Dysfunction
163(11)
Mood Disorders and Emotional Dysfunction
174(3)
Social Dysfunction
177(4)
Therapies: Talk versus Chemical and Surgical Intervention
181(4)
II Exploring the Consequences: Philosophical, Scientific, Social, and Personal 185(140)
8 The Puzzle of Consciousness
187(40)
Some Cautionary Parallels
187(4)
Is Consciousness a Brain Process? Leibniz's View
191(4)
The Elusive Contents of the First-Person Perspective: Nagel's Bat
195(5)
Sensory Qualities Once More: Jackson's Neuroscientist
200(3)
Mentality Without Reduction: Searle's Hybrid Position
203(5)
The Contents and Character of Consciousness: Some First Steps
208(7)
Reconstructing Consciousness in Neurocomputational Terms
215(12)
9 Could an Electronic Machine Be Conscious?
227(26)
The Turing Test and a Bit of Fun
227(7)
The Defects of the Turing Test and the Need for Real Theory
234(2)
Building an Artificial Brain
236(8)
Some Principled Objections to Machine Intelligence
244(9)
10 Language, Science, Politics, and Art
253(46)
Intelligence Differences: Between Individuals, and Between Species
253(4)
Is Language Unique to Humans?
257(7)
Dennett's Language-Centered Theory of Consciousness: A Critique
264(5)
The Role of Language in Thought and Consciousness
269(2)
Theoretical Science, Creativity, and Reaching Behind the Appearances
271(15)
Cognitive Progress in the Moral and Political Domain
286(8)
Neural Representation and the Many Forms of Art
294(5)
11 Neurotechnology and Human Life
299(26)
Medical Issues: Psychiatric and Neurological Medicine
299(3)
Medical Issues: Neural Networks for Diagnosis and Treatment
302(3)
Legal Issues: The Birth and Death of the Self
305(4)
Legal Issues: Sociopathology and Corrective Policy
309(5)
Turbocharged Science: Using Neural Networks for Research
314(5)
The Impact on Our Self Conception
319(6)
Selected Bibliography 325(2)
Index 327

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