Functional Hierarchies in the Brain

  • Ladislav J. Kohout
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 5)


One of the greatest challenges of brain research is to relate the anatomical (substratum-) structure of the brain to its functional performance. The behaviour of biological organisms is goal-oriented, with the basic aim of surviving and optimizing its performance in a given environment. The brain performs the control functions in this activity, as well as efficiently communicating with the environment. This control and communication are performed in a hierarchy of many different functional levels. An understanding of the interrelations is necessary for further progress of basic research in theoretical brain sciences, as well as in more practically-oriented clinical neurology. The complex methodological issues involved here are essentially methodological problems of an applied systems science.


Functional Structure Brain Centre Descriptive Level Substratum Structure Abstract Algebra 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Notes

  1. 1.
    M. A. Arbib, “From automata theory to brain theory,” International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 7, No. 3, May 1975, pp. 279–295; (Special Issue on Brain Theory: Part I).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. P. Zeigler, Theory of Modelling and Simulation, John Wiley, New York, 1975.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    B. P. Zeigler, “Statistical simplification of neural nets,” Int. J. Man-Machine Studies, 7, No. 3, May 1975, pp. 371–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    W. J. Freeman, Mass Action in the Nervous System, Academic Press, New York, 1975.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Szentagothai and M. A. Arbib, “Conceptual models of neural organization,” in Neurosci, Res. Prog. Bull., M.I.T., Cambridge, Mass., 1974.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    B. R. Gaines, “System identification, approximation and complexity,” Int. J. General Systems, 3, No. 3, January, 1977, pp. 145–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    K. R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hutchinson, London, 1959.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Karl Popper, Open Court Press, La Salle, Illinois, 1974.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. W. Burks, “Models of deterministic systems,” Mathematical Systems Theory, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 295–308, 1975.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    L. A. Zadeh, “From circuit theory to system theory,” Proc. IRE, 50, pp. 856–865, 1962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    L. J. Kohout, “Representation of functional hierarchies of movement in the brain,” Int. J. Man-Machine Studies, 8, No. 4, pp. 699–709, 1976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    G. J. Klir, “On the representation of activity arrays,” Int. J. General Systems, 2, pp. 149–168, 1975.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    G. J. Klir and H. Uyttenhove, “Computerized methodology for structure modelling,” Annals of Systems Research, Vol. 4, H. E. Stenfert Kroese, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1976.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    The transformation from unstructured behaviour of a system to a structured (and generative) description of it can be viewed as the transformation from the extentional to the in-tensional description of behaviour as has been pointed out by Gaines [15]. The application of Gaines’ idea in the development of a methodology for identification of functional hierarchies has been briefly outlined in [11], together with the discussion of some relevant concepts of Howard Pattee and Nikolaj A. Bernstejn. Recently, Mario Bunge [16] further refined the concepts of extension and intension. It seems desirable to examine the meaning of these refinements in the context outlined in [11] and in this paper.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    B. R. Gaines, “The human adaptive controller,” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cambridge, U.K., 1972.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    M. Bunge, Sense and Reference, Vol. 1 of the Treatise on Basic Philosophy, D. Riedel, Dordrecht and Boston, 1974.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    E. Cečh, “Topological Papers of E. Cech,” Academia, Prague,Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    L. J. Kohout, “Generalized topologies and their relevance to General Systems,” Int. J. General Systems, 2, No. 2, January 1975, pp. 25–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    D. J. Brown, “Abstract Logis,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point, Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1969.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    D. J. Brown and R. Suszko, “Abstract Logics,” Dissertationes Mathematicae, 102, pp. 5–42, 1973.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    L. J. Kohout and B. R. Gaines, “Protection as a general systems problem,” Int. J. Gen. Systems, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1976.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    L. J. Kohout, “Application of multi-valued logics to the study of human control and of movement disorders,” In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Multiple-Valued Logic, IEEE, New York (IEEE 76CH1111–4C), 1976.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    V. Pinkava, “Why there are different biochemical systems in the brain,” A research report, Severalls Hospital, Colchester, U.K.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    V. Pinkava, “Some further properties of the Pilogics,” Proc. of the 1975 International Symposium on Multiple-Valued Logic, IEEE, New York, 1975 (IEEE 75CH0959–7C).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    L. Kohout, “The Pinkava many-valued complete logic systems and their application in design of many-valued switching circuits,” Proc. of 1974 Inter. Symposium on Multiple-Valued Logic, IEEE, New York, 1974 (IEEE 74CH0845–8C).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    J. Vachek, (ed.), A Prague School Reader in Linguistics, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1964.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. Vachek, The Linguistic School of Prague, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1966.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    N. A. Bernštejn, O Postroenii Dvizenia (On the construction of movement), Moscow, 1947.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    N. A. Bernštein, The Coordination and Regulation of Movements, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1967.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    V. Laufberger, Vzruchová theorie, (The impulse theory: a physiology of activity.) Prague, 1947.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    J. L. Gedye, “Simulating clinical judgment,” In: Clinical Judgment: A Critical Approach, H. T. Egelhardt, S. F. Spicker, B. Towers, ed., Vol. 6 of Philosophy and Medicine Series, D. Riedel, Dordrecht, 1978.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ladislav J. Kohout
    • 1
  1. 1.U.C.H. Medical SchoolUniversity of LondonUK

Personalised recommendations