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The Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock lecture.

«Language and the Mind Revisited: The Biolinguistic Turn»

15:00 – 22:24

The rejection of this skepticism by a few leading scientist, whose views were incidentally condemned as a conceptual absurdity that paved away to the eventual unification. These fairly recent debates, I’m talking about the nineteen-twenties, these fairly recent debates on the in the hard sciences. I think have considerable relevant for today`s controversies concerning computational theories of cognitive capacity, that`s from insects to humans, foreign topic one discuss a little bit elsewhere and, I think deserves, a good deal more attention than its receipt. Well with the biolinguistic approach in place, framework in place… we want to discover the relationship between psychological states and the world as described in other terms. We want to know how computational states are related to neurophysiological states, states of the brain or represented in them in one terminology. We also want to find out how these mental states relate to the organism external world as for example when the motions and the noises produced by a forager bee direct others to a distant flower or when I talk about a recent trip to India or when I say that I recently read Darwin`s “Descent of man” referring to a book. Well, this is called intentionality in philosophical jargon. The broad issues were raised prominently at the end of the decade of the brain, which brought the last millennium to a close. The America academy of art and sciences at the end of the millennium your two thousand published a volume to mark the occasion, it`s summarized the current state of understanding in these areas. The guiding theme of the volume was formulated by a distinguished neuroscientist Vern-and-Mountcastle and his introduction to the collection it is in his words the thesis that things mental indeed mines or emergent properties of brains though these emergencies are not regarded as a reducible but are produced by principles that control the interactions between lower-level events principles we do not yet understand. That same thesis has been put forth in recent years as, according, as an astonishing hypothesis of the new biology a radically new idea in the philosophy of mind, their bold assertion that mental phenomena are entirely natural and caused by neurophysiological activities of the brain opening the door to new and promising enquiries and so on. Contributors to the American academy volume were prognose part quite optimistic about the prospects for overcoming the remaining gaps between psychological and physiological accounts. Mountcastle`s phrase we do not yet understand reflects that optimism suggests we will soon understand. Willson wrote that researchers now speak confidently of a coming solution to the brain mind problem. Similar confidence has been expressed for half a century including announcements by prominent scientists, Nobel Prize winner, in one case, that the brain mind problem hasn't already been solved. We may recall usefully similar optimism shortly before the unification of chemistry and physics so in 1929 Bertrand Russell, who knew the sciences well, he wrote that chemical laws cannot at present be reduced to physical laws. And his phrase at present like Mountcastles word yet expresses the expectation that the reductions should take place in the course of scientific progress perhaps soon. Now in the case of physics and chemistry it never did take place what happened was something different than totally unexpected namely unification of the virtually unchanged chemistry with a radically revised physics and it's hardly necessary to stress the fact that the state of understanding and achievement in these areas eighty years ago was far beyond anything that can be claimed for the brain and cognitive sciences today which ought to give us pause. The American academy volume reviews many important discoveries, but the leading thesis should arouse their skepticism not only for the reason that I just mentioned another reason is that the thesis is by no means no effective is formulated in virtually the same words two centuries ago eighteenth-century by the eminent chemist Joseph Priestley. He wrote that properties of mind arise from the organization of the nervous system itself and those properties termed mental are the results of the organically structure of the brain just does matter is possessed of powers of attraction and repulsion that acted a distance contrary to the founding principles of modern scientific revolution from Galileo to Newton and beyond. Half a century before Priestly, David Hume had casually described thought as a little ajutage of the brain and shortly after the French philosopher, physician Cobanies wrote that the brain must be considered a special organ designed to produce thought as the stomach and the intestines are designed to operate the digestion deliver, to filter bile and various clans to prepare salivary juices lemon tree he had similar proposals they were suppressed at the time but there are well-known today. A century later Darwin asked rhetorically why thought being a secretion of the brain should be considered more wonderful then gravity which is a property of matter. Actually these and many other conceptions developed from an inquiry.


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 1484

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