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MOVING BEYOND METAPHORS: UNDERSTANDING THE MIND FOR Penultimate draft. Final version is in the Journal of Philosophy, 2003, C(10):493-
 

Summary: MOVING BEYOND METAPHORS: UNDERSTANDING THE MIND FOR
WHAT IT IS
Penultimate draft. Final version is in the Journal of Philosophy, 2003, C(10):493-
520.
Chris Eliasmith
University of Waterloo
Department of Philosophy
eliasmith@uwaterloo.ca
1 INTRODUCTION
In the last 50 years, there have been three major approaches to understanding cognitive
systems and theorizing about the nature of the mind: symbolicism, connectionism, and
dynamicism. Each of these approaches has relied heavily on a preferred metaphor for
understanding the mind/brain. Most famously, symbolicism, or classical cognitive
science, relies on the "mind as computer" metaphor. Under this view, the mind is the
software of the brain. Jerry Fodor, 1
for one, has argued that the impressive theoretical
power provided by this metaphor is good reason to suppose that cognitive systems have a
symbolic "language of thought" which, like a computer programming language,
expresses the rules that the system follows. Fodor claims that this metaphor is essential
for providing a useful account of how the mind works.

  

Source: Anderson, Charles H. - Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology & Physics, Washington University in St. Louis

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences; Biology and Medicine