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Plato's Camera How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals

ISBN-10: 0262016869

ISBN-13: 9780262016865

Edition: 2012

Authors: Paul M. Churchland

List price: $35.00
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Description:

In Plato's Camera, eminent philosopher Paul Churchland offers a novel account of how the brain constructs a representation--or 'takes a picture'--of the universe's timeless categorical and dynamical structure. This construction process, which begins at birth, yields the enduring background conceptual framework with which we will interpret our sensory experience for the rest of our lives. But, as even Plato knew, to make singular perceptual judgments requires that we possess an antecedent framework of abstract categories to which any perceived particular can be relevantly assimilated. How that background framework is assembled in the first place is the motivating mystery, and the primary target, of Churchland's book.His account draws on the best of the recent philosophical literature on semantic theory, and on the most recent results from cognitive neurobiology. The resulting story throws immediate light on issues that have been at the center of philosophy for at least two millennia, such as how the mind represents reality, both in its ephemeral and in its timeless dimensions.Unexpectedly, this neurobiologically grounded account of human cognition also provides a systematic story of how such low-level epistemological activities are integrated within an enveloping framework of linguistic structures and regulatory mechanisms at the social level. As Churchland illustrates, this integration of cognitive mechanisms at several levels has launched the human race on an epistemological adventure denied to all other terrestrial creatures.
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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 1/20/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 312
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.232
Language: English

Paul M. Churchland is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul, Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.

Preface
Introduction: A Fast Overview
Some Parallels and Contrasts with Kant
Representations in the Brain: Ephemeral versus Enduring
Individual Learning: Slow and Structural
Individual Learning: Fast and Dynamical
Collective Learning and Cultural Transmission
Knowledge: Is It True, Justified Belief?
First-Level Learning, Part 1: Structural Changes in the Brain and the Development of Lasting Conceptual Frameworks
The Basic Organization of the Information-Processing Brain
Some Lessons from Artificial Neural Networks
Motor Coordination
More on Colors: Constancy and Compression
More on Faces: Vector Completion, Abduction, and the Capacity for 'Globally Sensitive Inference'
Neurosemantics: How the Brain Represents the World
How the Brain Does Not Represent: First-Order Resemblance
How the Brain Does Not Represent: Indicator Semantics
On the Identity/Similarity of Conceptual Frameworks across Distinct Individuals
First-Level Learning, Part 2: On the Evaluation of Maps and Their Generation by Hebbian Learning
On the Evaluation of Conceptual Frameworks: A First Pass
The Neuronal Representation of Structures Unfolding in Time
Concept Formation via Hebbian Learning: Spatial Structures
Concept Formation via Hebbian Learning: The Special Case of Temporal Structures
A Slightly More Realistic Case
In Search of Still Greater Realism
Ascending from Several Egocentric Spaces to One Allocentric Space
Second-Level Learning: Dynamical Changes in the Brain and Domain-Shifted Redeployments of Existing Concepts
The Achievement of Explanatory Understanding
On the Evaluation of Conceptual Frameworks: A Second Pass (Conceptual Redeployments)
On the Evaluation of Conceptual Frameworks: A Third Pass (Intertheoretic Reductions)
Scientific Realism and the Underdetermination of Theory by Evidence
Underdetermination Reconceived
Third-Level Learning: The Regulation and Amplification of First- and Second-Level Learning through a Crowing Network of Cultural Institutions
The Role of Language in the Business of Human Cognition
The Emergence and Significance of Regulatory Mechanisms
Some Prior Takes on This Epicerebral Process
How Social-Level Institutions Steer Second-Level Learning
Situated Cognition and Cognitive Theory
Appendix
References
Index