, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 115-123
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Getting the world right: Cognitive maps and pictures of universals

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Classical cognitive theories, that is, the family of theories that assume that the brain is a syntactic machine that processes symbols that are constant, context independent, and freely repeatable elements that figure constitutively in propositional contents, have failed to capture the way the brain goes about in its abductive business. Semantic holism, the trait par excellence of the sort of abductive reasoning performed by the brain, and the inability of the classical theories to explain adequately how the brain could in real time behave the way it does pose a severe problem for the classical conception of the brain.

In his new book, Paul Churchland continues, quite successfully, his bit to persuade the reader that the classical conception of the workings of the brain should be substituted by a construal of the brain as a dynamic neural network. The brunt of Churchland’s argument is that the new conception sheds light on some of the capacities of the brain that the classical view has ...