Plato's Camera

Plato's Camera : How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals

3.85 (41 ratings by Goodreads)
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In Plato's Camera, eminent philosopher Paul Churchland offers a novel account of how the brain constructs a representation -- or "takes a picture" -- of the universe's timeless categorical and dynamical structure. This construction process, which begins at birth, yields the enduring background conceptual framework with which we will interpret our sensory experience for the rest of our lives. But, as even Plato knew, to make singular perceptual judgments requires that we possess an antecedent framework of abstract categories to which any perceived particular can be relevantly assimilated. How that background framework is assembled in the first place is the motivating mystery, and the primary target, of Churchland's book. Unexpectedly, this neurobiologically grounded account of human cognition also provides a systematic story of how such low-level epistemological activities are integrated within an enveloping framework of linguistic structures and regulatory mechanisms at the social level. As Churchland illustrates, this integration of cognitive mechanisms at several levels has launched the human race on an epistemological adventure denied to all other terrestrial creatures.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12mm | 567g
  • MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • 12 color illus., 19 b&w illus., 15 line drawings
  • 0262016869
  • 9780262016865
  • 612,119

Review quote

"Paul Churchland continues, quite successfully, his bit to persuade the reader that the classical conception of the workings of the brain should be substituted by a construal of the brain as a dynamic neural network...If a book's success is judged both by the scope of its material and by the amount of novelty it brings, then Churchland's book is an unqualified success." -- Metascience "Passionately argued and inspirational...Churchland's book spans several seldom-bridged topics in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, and does so with wit and intelligence from its provocative neurocomputational perspective." -- Minds & Machines
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About Paul M. Churchland

Paul M. Churchland is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul, Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.
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Rating details

41 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 34% (14)
4 32% (13)
3 20% (8)
2 15% (6)
1 0% (0)
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