By Gerald M. Edelman
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Extra info for Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind
The messageboils down to this: The fundamental basis for all behavior and for the emergenceof mind is animal and speciesmorphology (anatomy) and how it functions. From studying the paleontological record it follows that what we call mind emerged only at particular times during evolution (and rather late at that). These terse commentscan be used as the basis for a researchProgram to connect psychology with biology-a program to account for embodiment. Errors continue to arise when psychology is pursued without strong connections to biology; I discuss some of them in the Postscript.
Most strikingly, the variability of maps in adult animals dependson the availablesignal input (figure 3-5). This might not seemto pose a dilemma 27 P no g rrl"t s on the alteration at first; after all, computerschangetheir "maps" or tables are based on system of software. One standardexplanationis to say that there hardin the brain that handle changing input, each altemative fixed and wired but switched in or out by changing input. Thus, the number of altematives would have to be very large. Another set of observationsbrings us to psychologicaldilemmasof the most profound kind.
The fiercest latter-day advocate of this position was B. F. Skinner, who extensively urplor"d- the phenomunonoi operant conditioning. This behavior is then reinforcedby repeatedreward') Many tefined chains of behavior were analyzedusing behavioral techniques. Clearly, however, at least part of the baby went out with the balhwater. For example,these approachesdid not encomPassthe Gestalt phenomena (figure 4-2) discovered by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang kohler, and Kurt Koffka. Gestalt pattems were discemed by thinking subjectsin a way that behaviorismwas hard put to explain.