What is the mind?

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sun Dec 6 12:25:15 EST 1998

It's a small point, but repeated use of the term "neural net" bothers
me.  Perhaps it is just shorthand for "network" as a way of expressing
multiple interactions among neurons, complelx functional communication
and bidirectional (multidirectional?), but I keep hearing Golgi.

He did indeed believe that the brain was a continuous net, but Ramon y
Cajal (whose keen eye and prodigious visual memory has probably not
been matched to this day) used Golgi's new technique to see fine
juxtapositions and conclude that it was not a continuous net but was
made up of separate components, i.e. neurons.  They shared the Nobel
prize for this ironic "collaboration".

The devil is in the details...

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <36694e2d.0 at ns2.wsg.net> "Ray Scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net> writes: 
>Anders N Weinstein wrote in message
><749o1o$7ep$1 at usenet01.srv.cis.pitt.edu>...
>>You seem to be stuck on the idea of exactly two domains, the knowable
>>world of science and the world of mysteries addressed (in some
>>by religion.
>You are exactly right. This is exactly how I view the universe. When
>at the physical world I see beautiful aggregations of molecules. And,
>particular, I see the fascinating aggregations of molecules that are
>neurons that especially interest me. When I step back, I know God who
>"created" this universe. (When speaking of God, I speak only by
>> But the ordinary everyday environment, the world of
>>relevance to the ends of living organisms, the world in particular of
>>human meaning, goes missing if we allow this dichotomous thinking.
>Teleology belongs to religion, I thought everyone understood that. On
>Sundays I go to Mass to contemplate teleology, at night when things
>quiet I contemplate teleology.
>>I mostly use common words, and I try to stick to behavior when I talk
>>about behavior. If A snubs B dead, the snubbing is not an event in
>>neurons, it is something in the open that anyone might see.
>You date yourself. This "common language" stuff came up in the
thirties when
>some British philosophers started "doing philosophy in the new way".
It died
>out in the seventies.
>The reality remains, for Science man is a mammal, a vertebrate, an
>Of animals, man is one of those that possess a neural net. All
behavior of
>such an animal is driven by its neural net. One attempts to examine
>neural net to determine which neurons do what. One examines the
molecules in
>a neuron to determine which molecules do what.
>This is neuroscience.
>Those philosophers who attempt teleology without invoking God, drool
>Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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