Models in the Brain (book summary)

Abstract

The central idea is that the cerebral cortex is a model building machine, where regularities in the world serve as templates for the models it builds. First it is shown how this idea can be naturalized, and how the representational contents of our internal models depend upon the evolutionarily endowed design principles of our model building machine. Current neuroscience suggests a powerful form that these design principles may take, allowing our brains to uncover deep structures of the world hidden behind surface sensory stimulation, the individuals, kinds, and properties that form the objects of human perception and thought. It is then shown how this account solves various problems that arose for previous attempts at naturalizing intentionality, and also how it supports rather than undermines folk psychology. As in the parable of the blind men and the elephant, the seemingly unrelated pieces of earlier theories (information, causation, isomorphism, success, and teleology) emerge as different aspects of the evolved model-building mechanism that explains the intentional features of our kind of mind.

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Author's Profile

Dan Ryder
University of British Columbia

Citations of this work

Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Predictive coding and thought.Daniel Williams - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1749-1775.
Neural Representations Observed.Eric Thomson & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):191-235.

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