David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):838-839 (1999)
As presently implemented, the neuron doctrine (ND) portrays the brain's neurons and chemical synapses as fundamental components in a computer-like switching circuit, supporting a view of brain = mind = computer. However, close examination reveals individual neurons to be far more complex than simple switches, with enormous capacity for intracellular information processing (e.g., in the internal cytoskeleton). Other poorly appreciated factors (gap junctions, apparent randomness, dendritic-dendritic processing, possible quantum computation, the living state) also suggest that the ND grossly oversimplifies neuronal functions. In the quest to understand consciousness, the presently implemented ND may throw out the baby with the bath water.
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