What is the mind?

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Sun Dec 6 20:41:01 EST 1998

F. Frank LeFever wrote in message <74eelr$cg8 at dfw-ixnews6.ix.netcom.com>...
>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, complex functional communication
>and bidirectional (multidirectional?), but I keep hearing Golgi.

Oh, Lord! How our poor language gets in the way of expressing our thoughts,
the syncytium rears its head. I want a phrase that will include all neurons.
I don't like "nervous system" because it makes me think of Descartes and his
little pneumatic tubes. "Neural system" is a possibility, but "neural net"
sounds more modern to me because of a long ago (World War II) background in

Then we have the computationalists and their "artificial neural nets". If
they can have a "net" why can't we?

If I must bow to the shared lexicon community, I will use nervous system but
I won't like it. The great frog and mouse battle between Cajal and Golgi is
a century old so I will use "neural net" to make myself happy if no one

I object to "brain" being used as the center of all neural activity. To my
way of thinking, all neurons are equal. Some like to say that some are more
equal than others and the most equal of all are in the neocortex. I don't
buy it. Sensory neuron, interneuron, motor neuron--the neural net--all are
working, all the time.

>The devil is in the details...

Right you are!

Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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