Meta-Neuroanatomy: The Myth of the Unbounded Mind/Brain

  • Christopher Cherniak
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 217)


A picture of human cognitive resources as effectively unbounded pervades mind/brain science to a significant extent, in particular its most concrete level, neuroanatomy. Predominant models of brain structure appear to be profoundly non-quantitative in some respects, not quantitatively coherent. We will focus here on evaluating recent estimates of area of the human cortical sheet, estimates of synaptic densities there, and studies of giant axonic arborizations in the visual cortex. This examination in fact yields some information on actual available cortical connectivity resources that is presently of interest as a basic constraint on models of computation in the brain. Finally, some of the conceptual etiology of the non-quantitative character of brain anatomy will be explored. While the discussion somewhat improves estimates of cortical resources, emphasis will be at the level of philosophy and methodology of neuroanatomy, and on how they can productively shift perspectives that guide scientific practice.


Visual Cortex Primary Visual Cortex Total Brain Volume Human Cerebral Cortex Concrete Level 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Cherniak
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy Department and Institute for Advanced Computer StudiesUniversity of MarylandUSA

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