A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science
If we are to solve the central problems in the philosophy of science, Paul Churchland argues, we must draw heavily on the resources of the emerging sciences of the mind/brain. In "A Neurocomputational Perspective, "Churchland illustrates the fertility of the concepts and data drawn from the study of the brain and from the study of artificial networks that model the brain. These concepts bring an unexpected coherence to scattered issues in the philosophy of science, new solutions to old philosophical problems, and new possibilities of science itself. "A Neurocomputational Perspective "collects the most influential of Churchland's recent essays in the philosophy of mind, and introduces a number of ground breaking new essays in the philosophy of science. The essays in part 1 form a systematic treatment of the major problems in the philosophy of mind, as seen from the perspective of the philosophy of science and also from the perspective of computational neuroscience and connectionist AI. The nature of mental representations, of sensory qualia, of psychological explanation and of human self understanding all receive significant new treatment, and Churchland reaffirms his well known position that our "folk psychology" must eventually be reduced, perhaps to a mature cognitive neurobiology, or else be displaced by some new framework that does cohere with emerging theories of brain function. In part 2, Churchland provides a coherent and unified alternative conception, in neurocomputational terms of the many issues central to the philosophy of science. These include the nature of theories, the theory-ladenness of perception, the nature of conceptual unification and theoretical simplicity, thenature of paradigms, the kinematics and dynamics of conceptual change, the nature of abductive inference, and the nature of explanatory understanding. Collectively these present a new conception of science. Paul M. Churchland is Professor of Philosophy and member of the Cognitive Science Faculty at the University of California at San Diego. A Bradford Book.
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