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What Happens to Accounts of Mind-Brain Relations If We Forego an Architecture of Rules and Representations?

William Bechtel
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1986, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1986), pp. 159-171
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193117
Page Count: 13
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What Happens to Accounts of Mind-Brain Relations If We Forego an Architecture of Rules and Representations?
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Abstract

The notion that the mind is a physical symbol system (Newell) with a determinate functional architecture (Pylyshyn) provides a compelling conception of the relation of cognitive inquiry to neuroscience inquiry: cognitive inquiry explores the activity within the symbol system while neuroscience explains how the symbol system is realized in the brain. However, the view the the mind is a physical symbol system is being challenged today by researchers in artificial intelligence who propose that the mind is a connectionist system and not simply a rule processing system. I describe this challenge and offer evidence that indicates the challenge may be well motivated. I then turn to the question of how such changes in the conception of the activity of the mind will affect our understanding of the relation of neuroscience to cognitive inquiry and sketch a framework in which the cognitive system consists of several levels and in which both neuroscience and cognitive science can make contributions at several of these levels.

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