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How Molecules Matter to Mental Computation

Paul Thagard
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 69, No. 3 (September 2002), pp. 497-518
DOI: 10.1086/342452
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/342452
Page Count: 18
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How Molecules Matter to Mental Computation
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Abstract

Almost all computational models of the mind and brain ignore details about neurotransmitters, hormones, and other molecules. The neglect of neurochemistry in cognitive science would be appropriate if the computational properties of brains relevant to explaining mental functioning were in fact electrical rather than chemical. But there is considerable evidence that chemical complexity really does matter to brain computation, including the role of proteins in intracellular computation, the operations of synapses and neurotransmitters, and the effects of neuromodulators such as hormones. Neurochemical computation has implications for understanding emotions, cognition, and artificial intelligence.

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