After Phrenology: How to Study the Brain by Michael L. Anderson

By Michael L. Anderson

The pc analogy of the brain has been as generally followed in modern cognitive neuroscience as used to be the analogy of the mind as a set of organs in phrenology. simply because the phrenologist might insist that every organ should have its specific functionality, so modern cognitive neuroscience is dedicated to the suggestion that every mind area should have its basic computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to accomplish an absolutely post-phrenological technological know-how of the mind, we have to reconsider this dedication and devise an alternative, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of psychological function.

Anderson contends that the cognitive roles performed by way of every one area of the mind are hugely a variety of, reflecting diverse neural partnerships tested below diversified situations. He proposes quantifying the sensible houses of neural assemblies when it comes to their dispositional trends instead of their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale matters, and drawing on proof from embodied cognition, Anderson develops an image of considering rooted within the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving potential for iterated interplay with the realm. He argues that the multidimensional method of the mind he describes deals a more robust healthy for those findings, and a extra promising highway towards a unified technological know-how of minded organisms.

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2012), and do not think that any of the arguments made in this chapter falsify any of the claims made on its behalf. Quite the contrary! As I have already indicated, I think that neural reuse follows naturally from, and coheres perfectly with, the general expectations of ECS. What I do think is that conceptual metaphors and modal concepts as well as other kinds of cognitively relevant simulations are all examples of a much larger phenomenon of borrowed cognition, driven largely by neural reuse.

Although it could be argued that using simulation in support of such “mind reading” (Gallese & Goldman 1998) requires a kind of metaphorical mapping (he is like me in relevant ways), in fact this is simply a necessary assumption to make the strategy sensible and is very unlike the kinds of metaphorical mappings envisioned by conceptual metaphor theory. In the case under discussion, the use of neural resources in behavioral control and in predictive modeling works because other people are already like me in the relevant sense and because the neural resources can provide services useful in both cases.

In a similar vein Casasanto and Boroditsky (2008) suggest that our mental representations of time are built on the foundations of our experience with space. These findings appear to provide strong and relatively unproblematic support for conceptual metaphor theory and perhaps also for a generic theory of concept empiricism, according to which the content of our concepts is grounded in (but does not necessarily constitute a simulation or reactivation of) sensorimotor experiences. On the other hand, even when simulation is an important aspect of the reuse of resources between different domains, it does not always play the functional role assigned it by concept empiricism or conceptual metaphor theory.

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