Layman's question on the biology of Long-term memory.

mat mats_trash at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 28 05:42:48 EST 2002


"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3cc98fd9$1_2 at news.nntpserver.com>...
> Also, BTW, my criticisms are mostly relevant to behavioral neuroscience (as
> well as psychology and philosophy) not to in vitro types like yourself.
> However, you contribute to the conceptual confusion a little by using the
> term "computation." It is probably harmless enough at the level that you're
> talking about, but at the behavioral level it implies an homunculous (Yes,
> it does, Matt - the implication is carried by the term. "Computation," like
> "representation," is not a physical property or set of properties. Something
> is a "computation" if it can be used by a person. Hence, the little inner
> man whose behavior explains the behavior of the outer person, but whose
> behavior is not, in turn, explained.) and prevents people from seeing that
> what we ultimately need to know is how stimuli come to "turn on" certain
> responses.
> 

I realise I'm not the 'Matt/Mat' to which this was addressed but
anyway...

Computation in no way implies a homunculus, at the network or
behavioural level.  You admit it doesn't have the conotation at the
network level, so form where does it suddenly arise at the behavioural
level.  A computer (as in PC) could be described as having behaviours
as consequences of environmental stimuli but no one is saying that it
has a homunculus (and don't say the user watching the screen because
that is not the same thing).  In fact, such a definition of behaviour
is exactly what you are trying for.  Just becuase we describe the
activity 'computation' from the outside looking down on the cellular
networks does not mean there has to be a homunculus who normally
watches the computation!  Computation can be implicit.

Further to your replies to my posts: Why is delineating and
categorizing behaviour any more or any less valid than categorising
psychological process, which you seem to totally deride?  Such
distinctions will only ever be arbitrary and based on preconceived
ideas which do not take account of neuroscience.  Investigating how
known network properties of neurons are involved in generating actions
(and thoughts) would be a much more profitable venture in my belief.




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