Explaining behavior: Bringing the brain back in

Inquiry 29 (June):187-201 (1986)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201748608602086
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
I. P. Pavlov (1962). Conditioned Reflexes. Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (4):560-560.
Walter J. Freeman (1981). A Physiological Hypothesis of Perception. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 24 (4):561-592.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ned Block (1990). Consciousness and Accessibility. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):596-598.
Max Velmans (1990). Is the Mind Conscious, Functional or Both? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):629-630.

View all 53 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

6 ( #336,406 of 1,727,284 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,727,284 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.