The Algebraic Mind: Integrating Connectionism and Cognitive Science

Paperback | January 24, 2003

byGary F. Marcus

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In The Algebraic Mind, Gary Marcus attempts to integrate two theories about how the mind works, one that says that the mind is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and another that says that the mind is a large network of neurons working together in parallel. Resisting the conventional wisdom that says that if the mind is a large neural network it cannot simultaneously be a manipulator of symbols, Marcus outlines a variety of ways in which neural systems could be organized so as to manipulate symbols, and he shows why such systems are more likely to provide an adequate substrate for language and cognition than neural systems that are inconsistent with the manipulation of symbols. Concluding with a discussion of how a neurally realized system of symbol-manipulation could have evolved and how such a system could unfold developmentally within the womb, Marcus helps to set the future agenda of cognitive neuroscience.

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In The Algebraic Mind, Gary Marcus attempts to integrate two theories about how the mind works, one that says that the mind is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and another that says that the mind is a large network of neurons working together in parallel. Resisting the conventional wisdom that says that if the mind is a large n...

Gary F. Marcus is Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.44 inPublished:January 24, 2003Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262632683

ISBN - 13:9780262632683

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In The Algebraic Mind, Gary Marcus attempts to integrate two theories about how the mind works, one that says that the mind is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and another that says that the mind is a large network of neurons working together in parallel. Resisting the conventional wisdom that says that if the mind is a large neural network it cannot simultaneously be a manipulator of symbols, Marcus outlines a variety of ways in which neural systems could be organized so as to manipulate symbols, and he shows why such systems are more likely to provide an adequate substrate for language and cognition than neural systems that are inconsistent with the manipulation of symbols. Concluding with a discussion of how a neurally realized system of symbol-manipulation could have evolved and how such a system could unfold developmentally within the womb, Marcus helps to set the future agenda of cognitive neuroscience. Anyone interested in the computational theory of mind and in how the machinery required for the requisite neural structures develops should read this book. It is a masterpiece of clear exposition from someone who has thought long and deeply about these questions.