Archive for May 1st, 2012

May 1, 2012

Representationalism and computationalism

by Neil Rickert

A commenter to a recent post said, in part:

The consensus in science is that objective data (like photons, matter, etc.) interact with our body via the sensory system (nervous system, etc.) converting a truncated amount of incoming data (due to limitations on nervous system processing speed and resolution) into even further truncated streams of information (due to nervous system compression before & as a result of space limitations in the body/spinal cord), eventually leading to the brain where that truncated data is translated into what we perceive (perceptions).

That is a view known as “representationalism” and computationalism is the particular version of representationism that says that what the brain is mainly doing is computation.

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May 1, 2012

On Kuhn’s “Structure …” and its impact

by Neil Rickert

It is around 50 years since Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was published, and there have been retrospectives at various sites.  I want to look at the retrospective in Scientific American, written by Gary Stix.

Stix begins with:

Scientific American’s review of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1964 ended with the pat pronouncement that the book was “much ado about very little.” The short piece, which appeared two years after the initial publication of Structure as a monograph in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, discarded as unoriginal Kuhn’s critique of the positivist argument that science progresses relentlessly forward toward the truth.

The reviewer’s glib dismissal missed the mark.

It is not all that clear to me that the reviewer missed the mark.

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