Embodiments of Mind

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MIT Press, Oct 22, 2016 - Science - 488 pages
Writings by a thinker—a psychiatrist, a philosopher, a cybernetician, and a poet—whose ideas about mind and brain were far ahead of his time.

Warren S. McCulloch was an original thinker, in many respects far ahead of his time. McCulloch, who was a psychiatrist, a philosopher, a teacher, a mathematician, and a poet, termed his work “experimental epistemology.” He said, “There is one answer, only one, toward which I've groped for thirty years: to find out how brains work.” Embodiments of Mind, first published more than fifty years ago, teems with intriguing concepts about the mind/brain that are highly relevant to recent developments in neuroscience and neural networks. It includes two classic papers coauthored with Walter Pitts, one of which applies Boolean algebra to neurons considered as gates, and the other of which shows the kind of nervous circuitry that could be used in perceiving universals. These first models are part of the basis of artificial intelligence.

Chapters range from “What Is a Number, that a Man May Know It, and a Man, that He May Know a Number,” and “Why the Mind Is in the Head,” to “What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain” (with Jerome Lettvin, Humberto Maturana, and Walter Pitts), “Machines that Think and Want,” and “A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity” (with Walter Pitts). Embodiments of Mind concludes with a selection of McCulloch's poems and sonnets. This reissued edition offers a new foreword and a biographical essay by McCulloch's one-time research assistant, the neuroscientist and computer scientist Michael Arbib.



1 What Is a Number That a Man May Know It and a Man That He May Know a Number?
2 A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity
3 A Heterarchy of Values Determined by the Topology of Nervous Nets
The Perception of Auditory and Visual Forms
5 Modes of Functional Organization of the Cerebral Cortex
6 Why the Mind Is in the Head
7 Through the Den of the Metaphysician
8 Mysterium Iniquitatis of Sinful Man Aspiring into the Place of God
13 Where Is Fancy Bred?
14 What the Frogs Eye Tells the Frogs Brain
15 Finality and Form in Nervous Activity
16 The Past of a Delusion
17 Machines That Think and Want
18 The Natural Fit
19 A Historical Introduction to the Postulational Foundations of Experimental Epistemology
20 Physiological Processes Underlying Psychoneuroses

9 Effects of Strychnine with Special Reference to Spinal Afferent Fibres
10 Reflex Inhibition by Dorsal Root Interaction
11 Toward Some Circuitry of Ethical Robots or an Observational Science of the Genesis of Social Evaluation in the MindLike Behavio
Of Nervous Netsthe Lucky Reckoners
21 Whats in the Brain That Ink May Character?
Warren McCullochs Search for the Logic of the Nervous System

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About the author (2016)

Warren S. McCulloch was an American neurophysiologist and cybernetician, known for his work on the foundation for certain brain theories and his contribution to the cybernetics movement.

Michael Arbib has played a leading role at the interface of neuroscience and computer science ever since his first book, Brains, Machines, and Mathematics. From Neuron to Cognition provides a worthy pedagogical sequel to his widely acclaimed Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks. After thirty years at University of Southern California he is now pursuing interests in “how the brain got language” and “neuroscience for architecture” in San Diego.

The late Seymour A. Papert was a Professor in MIT's AI Lab (1960–1980s) and MIT's Media Lab (1985–2000) and the author of Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.

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