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Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks in Brains and Computers epub

by Rodney Cotterill


Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks in Brains and Computers epub

ISBN: 0521794625

ISBN13: 978-0521794626

Author: Rodney Cotterill

Category: Technology

Subcategory: Computer Science

Language: English

Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 11, 2000)

Pages: 524 pages

ePUB book: 1528 kb

FB2 book: 1241 kb

Rating: 4.5

Votes: 925

Other Formats: txt lrf lit lrf





Enchanted Looms" is a fine place to do that. This is not a book to sweep through in a few days. Professor Cotterill has written a brilliant book on the brain and how it creates consciousness

Enchanted Looms" is a fine place to do that. You will want to pause and digest. Professor Cotterill has written a brilliant book on the brain and how it creates consciousness. It is one of a kind with a wealth of interesting information on how the brain works and how we one day might be able to simulate consciousness in computers. The central hypothesis is a bold one and deserves further scrutiny.

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Joseph Weizenbaum was a German-American computer scientist who is famous for his development of the Eliza program in 1966 and for his views on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

John Searle distinguished between weak and strong artificial intelligence (AI). This essay discusses a third alternative, mild AI, according to which a machine may be capable of possessing a species of mentality. Using James Fetzer's. Joseph Weizenbaum was a German-American computer scientist who is famous for his development of the Eliza program in 1966 and for his views on the ethics of artificial intelligence. He became sceptical of artificial intelligence and a leading critic of the AI field following the response of users to the Eliza program.

Edelman, G. (1989), The Remembered Present. New York: Basic Books. Humphrey, N. (1992), A History of the Mind. New York: Harper Collins. Sherrington, C. (1941), Man on his Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1996), On the Origin of Objects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Tulving, E. (1999), 'Episodic vs Semantic Memory', in . Keil (eds), The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences.

The title of this book was inspired by a passage in Charles Sherrington's Man on. .

The title of this book was inspired by a passage in Charles Sherrington's Man on his Nature. When that famous physiologist died in 1952, the prospects for a scientific explanation of consciousness seemed remote. Rodney Cotterill bridges the gap between the bottom-up approach to understanding consciousness, anchored in the brain's biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and the top-down strategy, which concerns itself with behavior and the nervous system's interaction with the environment.

The enchanted loom is a famous metaphor for the human brain invented by the pioneering neuroscientist Charles S. Sherrington in a passage from his 1942 book Man on his nature. Sherrington in a passage from his 1942 book Man on his nature, in which he poetically describes his conception of what happens in the cerebral cortex during arousal from sleep:. The "loom" he refers to was undoubtedly meant to be a Jacquard loom, used for weaving fabric into complex patterns.

Rodney Cotterill has performed a greatly needed service ! to clarify for readers freshly arriving on the scene the hundreds of threads making up the tapestry of current neuroscience ! Cotterill is to be commended for bringing his work and person again to the fore. Journal of Consciousness Studies ' ! three things about this book make it exceptional

The title of this book was inspired by a passage in Charles Sherrington's Man on his Nature. When that famous physiologist died in 1952, the prospects for a scientific explanation of consciousness seemed remote. Enchanted Looms shows how the situation has changed dramatically over the past forty years, and provides what is probably the most wide-ranging account of the phenomenon ever written. Rodney Cotterill bridges the gap between the bottom-up approach to understanding consciousness, anchored in the brain's biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and the top-down strategy, which concerns itself with behavior and the nervous system's interaction with the environment. He argues that an explanation of consciousness is now at hand, and extends the discussion to include intelligence and creativity, unlike other books on the subject. This beautifully written and illustrated book will be valued for its provocative approach to one of science's last great challenges. Enchanted Looms will change forever our view of consciousness and our concept of the human being.
If you are, like me, an "amateur" when it comes to the study of the mind, you have probably sought to balance your reading of philosophers like Dennett with something more solid from the science of mind. "Enchanted Looms" is a fine place to do that.
This is not a book to sweep through in a few days. You will want to pause and digest. Although Cotterill is clearly aiming at an educated layperson as a reader, he bows, stylistically, to an academic audience. This interfered with my reading of the book. Dozens of times per chapter, he cites sources parenthetically or within the text. Too many sentences begin in the form "The work of _x_ and _y_ has shown..." For the longest time I kept thinking that noting and remembering those names would help me in following a line of argument. This was rarely the case. But then, at times, a backward reference to "_x_" would stump me. Once I learned to glide over these I found it much easier to read the book.
The tie-in with "neural networks" was an interesting process since I had little sense of their importance in cognitive science. Cotterill does a nice job, initially, of showing how such structures might work in both the abstract and at the level of neural anatomy. But, interestingly, he moves on to make a convincing case that such structures cannot adequately model all the functionality of the human brain. I came away from this book with the sense that neural nets are the "Ptolemaic epicycles" of brain science - a paradigm that with growing complexity and constant tweaking can just barely model what we know about a physical phenomenon, but which are not up to the ultimate task.
Cotterill does a nice job of making the macro-anatomy of the brain a part of a meaningful whole. Too many neuro-anatomy-focused books seem to just carve out the various regions and leave a sense of oddly unconnected "vision centers" and "speech centers." "Enchanted Looms" presents much more of the sense of the interconnectedness of those zones that we have chosen to isolate as anatomical pieces. He goes into some depth about how these connections might themselves function as a layer in the processing that we call thinking or sensation, ... or consciousness.
Which brings me, in the end, to the grail in my own "brain-book" search - "consciousness." Sure its fascinating to realize how interesting the study of, for instance, vision, might be, but its that "me" in there, in HERE, that wants some explaining. Although this is not the focus of Cotterill's book, he does propose a very different model for consciousness from any that I have seen - seemingly centered around neuro-motor systems; an odd twist on the notion of a "muscle-head" ! I say "seemingly" because it was really only upon reading this concluding section of the book that I realized I might not have understood enough of the prior 500 pages. Cotterill's argument for this unusual underpinning of consciousness seemed somewhat unconvincing, to me, only to the degree that it built upon elements of his model for brain that I had only partially grasped.
So I will reread this book... a very unusual thing for me, for this topic. It bespeaks the power of the ideas it presents that I know "Enchanted Looms" will be worth that second effort.
This is an extremely comprehensive book. It covers many aspects of neuroscience and neural networks. Among a lot of information, there is his theory of consciousness. He bases his view of the mind as action centered, and this is to my mind, a good move. It is no surprising that his model includes sensimotor areas. He also includes the prefrontal, premotor, and the thalamus intralaminar nuclei, forming a loop, in his theory of consciousness. He supports it quite well, and it gives rise to predictions that can be experimentaly tested. The data considered is overwhelming, so even if the consciousness theory end up not being totally right, the book as a whole is still a very important piece of literature in the neurosciences. Qualia as essentialy the effects of muscle-spindles in the loop at first seems confusing, if not implausible, but maybe deserves further consideration. Not a lot of neural network talk, but enough to complement nicely.
Buy this book if you are interested in consciousness. It is by far the best book available.
Professor Cotterill has written a brilliant book on the brain and how it creates consciousness. It is one of a kind with a wealth of interesting information on how the brain works and how we one day might be able to simulate consciousness in computers. The central hypothesis is a bold one and deserves further scrutiny.
Rodney, neuroscience explorer, returns from a trek into the unknown chart area, "terra incognita". Consciousness and mind hide there and now this book yields up their secrets and treasures. Well illustrated, apt quotations, written with beautiful expression and constantly rigorous in thought and argument. Science writing now days divides into the noisy and the hidden gems. The first is smart agents, pushy PR and personalities that constantly self promotion but write work that never lives up to its flash and advertising. Would that Pinker was as good as the ads tell us he is. In the second group are those that never get into the stream of success because they are too good natured for the game. But they write the science that is worth reading. Professor Cotterill - at least after reading this book -- is at the top of that group. Having read Pinker's Blank Slate, I wished I had read this first - better is a personal judgment but this is. Not a book for indenting from the library but buying for a holiday and pleasure.
Daniel Dennett doesn't Explain Consciousness and Steven Pinker doesn't really tell us How the Brain Works. Cotterill does both: at a level of detail which allows the expert (which I am not) to evaluate his claims, yet in a style which is always accessible to the scientifically aware general reader. The evidence, getting down to the individual neuron and its dendrites, builds up to an overall picture which shows consciousness to be the outcome of a sort of time-lapse pattern matching process in the brain. This book really tells you how it works: it's not just a bunch of philosophising -- it's all (almost all, 'cos he does allow himself a speculation or two) based on experiment. Cotterill concludes by telling us that he and his students are now working on computer neural networks which should result in a computer which (convincingly) simulates consciousness. [Maybe I shouldn't have given away the ending.]
This is vastly better than the meretricious commercial books that clutter up this area. Cotterill is (a) well-informed; (b) writes compellingly and clearly, with analogies and new ideas that will make even neuroscience professionals sit up and take notice. It is emphatically not just another piece of popularisation.