It is hard to express the current situation of modern neuroscience better than it was done by Graham Hoyle a little more than a decade ago. In 1984, he wrote: “Unfortunately, in spite of an explosion of research activity in neuroscience in the 34 years since the Cambridge meeting, there has been little advance in its conceptual underpinnings. The single general framework that has ever existed, the McCulloch-Pitts (1943) binomial model of neural function, had to be abandoned when intracellular recording revealed the widespread occurrence and importance of analog information processing and signaling. But the vacuum left behind has yet to be filled with even a tentative new model. Neuroscience came to be the art of the do-able, with expediency ruling the day, rather than a soundly based intellectual domain. Three generations of neuroscientists have now been trained without any link to a widely accepted general theory of neural circuit function and neural integration. They have been given to believe that they are engaged in a massive fact-finding operation guided only by the relative softness of the seams in the body unknown that happened to face their individual picks! Science without larger questions provides a dismal prospect to a truly inquiring mind. Of course, to those who would make careers out of providing random facts, nothing could be nicer, so varied and so complex are nervous systems. There is enough material to occupy armies of such persons for centuries. But, without some strong delineations, neuroscience will continue to explode into myriad fragments. We shall end up with masses of descriptive minutiae of many nervous systems without advancing our overall understanding of how they do the job for which they evolved.” (Hoyle 1984, p. 379).


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantin V. Baev
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological InstituteSt. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical CenterPhoenixUSA

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