Gerald Edelman
(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Philosophy of Mind

  • The human genome alone cannot specify the whole complex structure of the brain
  • Individual brains are wildly diverse
  • "Neural Darwinism": application of Jerne's "selectional" theory of the immune system to the brain
  • The brain develops categories by selectively strengthening or weakening connections between neural groups
  • Neural groups "compete" to respond to environmental stimuli
  • Each brain is different because its ultimate configuration depends on the stimuli that it encounters during its development
  • Adhesion molecules determine the initial structure of neural groups, the "primary repertory"
  • Experience determines the secondary repertory
  • Repertories are organized in "maps", each map having a specific neural function
  • A map is a set of neurons in the brain that has a number of links to a set of receptor cells or to other maps
  • Maps communicate through parallel bidirectional pathways, i.e. through "reentrant" signaling
  • Reentry is more than feedback: there can be many parallel pathways operating simultaneously
  • The process of reentrant signaling allows a perceptual categorization of the world
  • Categorization is a process of establishing a relation between neural maps
  • Categories (perceptual categories, such as "red" or "tall") do not exist phisically, they are not located anywhere in the brain: they are a (on-going) process.
  • A further level of organization leads to (pre-linguistic) conceptualization
  • Conceptualization consists in constructing maps of the brain's own activity, or maps of maps
  • A concept is not a thing, it is a process
  • The meaning of something is an on-going, ever-changing process
  • Brain processes aredynamic and stochastic
  • The brain is not an "instructional" system but a "selectional" system
  • The brain is not a direct product of the information contained in the genome, it uses much more information that is available in the genome, i.e. information derived from experience, i.e. from the environment
  • Primary consciousness (being aware of the world)
  • Two kinds of nervous system...
  • 1. Memory continuously reorganizes ("recategorizes")
  • 2. Learning as ranking of stimuli ("value-laden" memory, instinctive behavior)
  • Intelligent behavior + "instinctive" behavior
  • Primary consciousness arises from "reentrant loops" that interconnect "perceptual categorization" and "value-laden" memory ("instincts")
  • Higher-order consciousness (language and self-awareness)
  • Distinction between the self and the rest of the world
  • Social interaction_ anatomical changes _phonology_ _permanent categories...Semantics...Syntax
  • Unique to humans

(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )