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Stephen Downes

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OK, I haven't read this, but here's the whole book (open access publication) and I'll be spending the next little while dipping in and out of it (any interest in forming a reading circle?). For now, let me focus on this one blog post that extracts one little bit of 'The Brain Abstracted: Simplification in the History and Philosophy of Neuroscience'. Mazviita Chirimuuta writes, "the positing of neural representations abstracts away from the causal chain mediating the distal object and the firing it elicits, hence it is a simplifying strategy." Quite so. But - importantly - it follows that neural representations themselves have no causal power. You can't say 'his belief that P' caused 'his conclusion that Q' or 'his behaviour of R' (the map isn't the territory; Canada isn't bigger than the U.S. just because it's bigger on the map). Anyhow - I'm excited to see this book, and even more so that it is open access. It's like I can do philosophy again!

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 13, 2024 04:38 a.m.

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