How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? by John R. Anderson

How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?

byJohn R. Anderson

Hardcover | August 4, 2007

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"The question for me is how can the human mind occur in the physical universe. We now know that the world is governed by physics. We now understand the way biology nestles comfortably within that. The issue is how will the mind do that as well."--Allen Newell, December 4, 1991, Carnegie MellonUniversity The argument John Anderson gives in this book was inspired by the passage above, from the last lecture by one of the pioneers of cognitive science. Newell describes what, for him, is the pivotal question of scientific inquiry, and Anderson gives an answer that is emerging from the study of brainand behavior. Humans share the same basic cognitive architecture with all primates, but they have evolved abilities to exercise abstract control over cognition and process more complex relational patterns. The human cognitive architecture consists of a set of largely independent modules associated with differentbrain regions. In this book, Anderson discusses in detail how these various modules can combine to produce behaviors as varied as driving a car and solving an algebraic equation, but focuses principally on two of the modules: the declarative and procedural. The declarative module involves a memorysystem that, moment by moment, attempts to give each person the most appropriate possible window into his or her past. The procedural module involves a central system that strives to develop a set of productions that will enable the most adaptive response from any state of the modules. Newell arguedthat the answer to his question must take the form of a cognitive architecture, and Anderson organizes his answer around the ACT-R architecture, but broadens it by bringing in research from all areas of cognitive science, including how recent work in brain imaging maps onto the cognitivearchitecture.

About The Author

John R. Anderson is the R. K. Mellon University Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He has led the development of the ACT-R cognitive architecture and its applications, especially intelligent tutoring systems. Anderson has been recognized as a leader in the field of cognitive science by a numb...
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Details & Specs

Title:How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 5.98 × 9.21 × 0.91 inPublished:August 4, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195324250

ISBN - 13:9780195324259

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Table of Contents

Preface. 1. Cognitive Architecture2. The Modular Association of Mind3. Human Associative Memory4. The Adaptive Control of Thought5. What Does It Take to be Human? Lessons from High School Algebra6. How Can the Human Mind Occur?Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

"The mission of cognitive neuroscience is (or at least should be) to connect cognition with neural function, to explain how gray matter gives rise to the psychology of thought. Where many people settle for a mere geography-- an inventory of what happens where-- Anderson aims for somethingmuch more ambitious: an understanding of how cognition happens at all. By combining trenchant psychological analysis with well-motivated neuroimaging, Anderson provides a new paradigm for addressing the core questions in cognitive neuroscience. An important step in the science of relating mind andbrain."--Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology and Director, Infant Language Center, New York University