Explaining behavior: Bringing the brain back in

Inquiry 29 (June):187-201 (1986)
Abstract
What is needed today is a biologically grounded explanation of behavior, one that moves beyond the so?called mind?body problem. Yet no solution will be found by philosophers who refuse to learn about how brains and bodies work, or by neuroscientists pursuing experimental research based on outmoded or blatantly anti?biological theories. Churchland's book proposes a solution: to come by a unified theory of the mind?brain philosophers have to work together with neuroscientists. Yet Churchland's vision of a unified theory is based on an assumption that, while widely held, may not adequately reflect brain functioning in the production of behavior, namely, the assumption that brain processes represent. The present paper proposes an alternative view, suggesting that patterns of neural activity do not ?represent? anything, that brains do not ?read? or ?transform? representations, and that brains do not require representations to produce goal?directed behavior. Representations are replaced by self?organizing neural processes that achieve a certain end?state of interaction between the organism and its environment in a flexible and adaptive manner. Some of the implications of this view for neuroscientific research and the philosophy of mind are outlined
Keywords Behavior  Representation  Science  Transformation  Churchland, P
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    A. Babloyantz (1987). Chaotic Dynamics in Brain Activity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (2):173.
    John A. Barnden (1987). Chaos, Symbols, and Connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (2):174.

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