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Topic: Paul Churchland

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In the News (Tue 22 May 18)

  Beyond Eliminative materialism
Even though one of Churchland's greatest contributions to philosophy of mind was demonstrating that the issues in philosophy of mind were a subspecies of scientific reduction, still philosophers of psychology have usually defended or critiqued folk psychology without attempting to carefully analyze Churchland's theory of reduction.
Churchland, however, tempered this skepticism with a variety of evocative metaphors that for our purposes boil down to one point: the line between a true theory and a false one is not as sharp as is commonly supposed.
Churchland has always been scrupulous in reminding us that even his beloved neural computational theories are largely based on models that are in many ways biologically implausible, and that the similarities between natural and artificial networks are bridged largely by guesswork.
users.california.com /~mcmf/beyondem.html   (6904 words)

 Paul Churchland   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Paul Churchlands main focus is Philosophy of Science and on the Philosophy of Mind/Psychology/Neuroscience.
Paul chruchlands limitations to me are very brief and in no way could i bullshit and write 5 paragraphs about it.
Paul churchland fails to approach the naturual feelings that man inherits from being alive, like guilt and the inherit malevolence in mans mind.
members.aol.com /krazywitak/churchland.htm   (308 words)

 Anthony Landreth reviews Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy by Patricia Smith Churchland
Churchland warns us to be wary of a priori methods in philosophy, since, from a Darwinian perspective, there is little reason to expect that we have come prepackaged with the conceptual resources sufficient for an armchair discovery of natural law.
Churchland appears to endorse both accounts, and yet they are quite different in the way that she describes them.
In Paul Churchland’s (1996) state space account of neural representation, the content of a neural representation is defined in terms of its location in a multi-dimensional space, where the parameters of the space could be defined according to, e.g., stimulus features.
human-nature.com /nibbs/03/landreth.html   (1788 words)

 Philosophers : Paul Churchland   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Churchland argues that our everyday, commonsense view of psychological phenomena, which conceives of thought in terms of propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires, is an empirical "folk" theory.
He calls this theory "folk psychology" and argues that it is inadequate as an empirical (scientific) theory and therefore ought to be rejected.
Churchland argues that the normative function of folk psychology could just as well be played by another theory with different categories for describing the content of our mental lives.
www.trincoll.edu /depts/phil/philo/phils/churchland.html   (152 words)

 Sutton review of Churchlands
In the 1980s, this stress on the theoretical and revisable nature of our self-conception was augmented by the Churchlands' attention to new connectionist models in cognitive science, which promised seductive accounts of thought as fundamentally non-linguistic, of memory as thoroughly reconstructive rather than reproductive, and of a reductionism which didn't rule out context and complexity.
This is plausible enough, and Paul Churchland rejects the scientistic authoritarianism which critics ascribe to him through an 'anti-utopian' philosophy of science, by which the neurocognitivism he enthusiastically embraces is not a Final Theory but just another fallible, pragmatic, but promising way of carving and recarving world and mind into new categories.
The Churchlands claim to 'embrace' the point that consciousness is constituted not just by intrinsic facts about an isolated individual, but also by 'the rich matrix of relations it bears to the other humans, practices, and institutions of its embedding culture'.
www.phil.mq.edu.au /staff/jsutton/Churchlands.htm   (1104 words)

 Untitled   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Each fills in an overlapping portion of Churchland's comprehensive and unified perspective on the nature of mind, knowledge and science; thus, while most can profitably be read independently, a full appreciation of his work only comes from reading the collection as a whole.
Churchland writes in a clear, compelling and entertaining style; his theses fit together to form an elegant overall perspective, and are always carefully argued.
There is also plenty still to be done fleshing out Churchland's pioneering but often somewhat sketchy applications of neurocomputational conceptions of cognition to traditional philosophical concerns such as the influence of social and cultural factors on a person's world view, the nature of our understanding of others, of morality, and so forth.
www.philosophy.unimelb.edu.au /tgelder/papers/ChurchRev.html   (1234 words)

 Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind - Churchland, Paul   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Churchland is famous for championing the thesis that our everyday, common-sense, ‘folk’ psychology, which seeks to explain human behavior in terms of the beliefs and desires of agents, is actually a deeply flawed theory that must be eliminated in favor of a mature cognitive neuroscience.
From 1966 onward, Churchland taught at different universities in the U.S. and Canada, and he became full professor at the University of Manitoba in 1979.
The eliminativist thesis is perhaps most explicitly formulated in his 1981, Journal of Philosophy paper, "Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes." In the 1980s, Churchland began to champion a specific type of neurocomputational theory as a source of answers to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind and of science.
www.artsci.wustl.edu /~philos/MindDict/churchlandpm.html   (311 words)

 Domain-Portrayal Semantics Versus Asymmetric Dependence Semantics   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Churchland claims that once this network has been successfully trained to discriminate between a range of faces, the synaptic weights of the connections at the different layers being fixed in the process, the middle-rung contains an 80-dimensional map of the domain of human faces.
Churchland’s first complaint was that such theories have to unduly privilege perceptual concepts over non-perceptual ones, explaining the significance of the latter only in terms of the former.
Churchland acknowledges that two persons rarely share exactly the same conceptual spaces; for that reason, it is important to him that he find this conception of the similarity of conceptual spaces.
www-acs.ucsd.edu /~jmessina/Mind.html   (4384 words)

 The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain
for churchland neural states are not the same as mental states; "mental states" as-we-know-them are part of a theoretical framework known as "folk psychology" that's doomed to disappear just as beliefs in witches, caloric fluid, and demonic sources of illness disappeared from our knowledge pool.
Churchland first explains the science - the powerful role of vector coding in sensory representation and pattern recognition, artificial neural networks that imitate parts of the brain, recurrent networks, neural representation of the social world, and diagnostic technologies and therapies for the brain in trouble.
Paul M. Churchland is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.
www.ftrbooks.net /psych/biological_consciousness/seat_soul.htm   (775 words)

 P S Y C H E
Churchland's 'Lilliputian effect' illustrating stereoscopic vision (a pair of images of Manhattan island as seen by a giant) is remarkable and is itself worth the stereoscope which accompanies the book.
Although Paul Churchland's dismissal of such positions is reasonable from the perspective of purely mechanical aspects of consciousness, I feel that the key point of consciousness, namely its qualitative experiential aspect (e.g.
The fact that five judges took one of the human participants to be a machine is understood by Paul Churchland as one of the indications that the Turing test should be reformulated in order to incorporate other cognitive features such as learning, recognition and conceptual change.
psyche.cs.monash.edu.au /book_reviews/churchland/index.html   (3196 words)

 KLI Theory Lab - Authors - Paul M. Churchland
Churchland, P.M. The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain.
Churchland, P.M. The ontological status of observables: In praise of the superempirical virtues.
Churchland, P.M. Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind.
www.kli.ac.at /theorylab/AuthPage/C/ChurchlandPM.html   (126 words)

 for Brian Keeley, ed
It is curious that Paul ignores this perspective, since he has written hymns glorifying the repetitive power of recurrent neural circuits and their role in any remotely plausible theory of learning.
Interestingly, Paul himself draws attention to this in a passage that is meant to cast doubt on the meme/virus parallel: AA mature cell that is completely free of viruses is just a normal, functioning cell.
And to echo the note from Paul with which I began this essay, for all our disagreements, Paul and I are united in thinking that these are scientific questions that cannot be solved, or even much advanced, by the intuition-mongering of armchair philosophy.
ase.tufts.edu /cogstud/papers/churchland.htm   (5655 words)

 Paul Churchland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (via CobWeb/3.1 planet03.csc.ncsu.edu)   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
Paul Churchland (born 1942) is a philosopher working at the University of California, San Diego.
He is a major proponent of eliminative materialism, which claims that everyday mental concepts such as beliefs, feelings, and desires are theoretical constructs without coherent definition, and hence, we should not expect such concepts to be a necessary part of a scientific understanding of the brain.
Just as a modern understanding of science has no need for concepts such as luck or witchcraft to explain the world, a future neuroscience, Churchland argues, is likely to have no need for "beliefs" or "feelings" to explain the brain, instead dealing in objective phenomena such as neurons and their interaction.
en.wikipedia.org.cob-web.org:8888 /wiki/Paul_Churchland   (279 words)

 Do Seated Souls Experience Slumberous Sensations? Review of "The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul" by ...
After an 'heroic-age-of-science' section, in which Churchland points out that seemingly controversial hypotheses have proven correct in the past and so might be expected to be proven correct in the future as well, the main objectives of the book are outlined.
These are, generally speaking, introducing the general reader to the new theories and results from neurocomputational research (both natural and artificial), and, he hopes, motivating him or her to rethink our mental lives and to participate in the debates surrounding these new developments.
The great shortcoming of this approach, as expressed by Paul Churchland himself, is that such parallels provide no implications at all for the nature of consciousness.
psyche.cs.monash.edu.au /v2/psyche-2-29-dacosta.html   (3177 words)

 [No title]
Churchland and Dennett agree that the ability to direct one's attention to particular facets of the environment to the exclusion of others is a fundamental feature of conscious experience.
Churchland proposes that the contents of dreams are vectors activated by descending pathways that are then represented in multimodal form at the intralaminar nucleus.
We suspect that Churchland's commitment to the mundane here is due to the difficulty he would have accounting for anything else as the result of operations in the sorts of recurrent networks he has discussed, in which the extant activation vectors must be the product of training and thus familiar, routine, the opposite of unprecedented.
ase.tufts.edu /cogstud/papers/VIRTUES.FIN.htm   (5170 words)

 Some Thoughts On Observability
Churchland attributes simple descriptive (not predictive) accuracy to van Fraassen's idea of empirical adequacy when he says that "van Fraassen asserts that descriptive excellence at the observational level is the only genuine measure of a theory's truth" (35).
Churchland is correct when he compares questions of which global theory to adopt to Carnap's idea of internal/external questions.
Churchland's conclusion is that there is no good reason why we cannot count the information gathered by either the first or the second groups of humanoids as observable evidence.
www.ellipsis.cx /~liana/phi/obs.html   (6436 words)

 Paul Churchland (via CobWeb/3.1 planetlab2.cs.unc.edu)   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
'''Paul Churchland''' is a philosopher working at the University of California, San Diego.
He is the husband of philosopher Patricia Churchland and particularly noted for his work in philosophy of mind and neurophilosophy.
He is particularly associated with a school of thought called eliminative materialism which argues that folk psychology concepts such as belief and desire have no coherent or definable brain activity associated with them; we can therefore expect them to be replaced by concepts that have yet to be articulated.
paul-churchland.iqnaut.net.cob-web.org:8888   (197 words)

 The Luminous Room: An Argument Against Strong EM
Churchland systematically constructs analogs of ten arguments (seven of which belong to Searle) supporting the irreducibility of light in an effort to render this family of arguments as problematic as possible.
In fact, in the final analysis Churchland is free to stick to his guns because it begins to look as though he was right on target when he fired his first volley six years ago.
Churchland criticism is that (3) is only plausible to those who are ignorant of the details of EM theory and, as such, remain slaves to their common-sense intuitions.
www.ptproject.ilstu.edu /luminous.htm   (2740 words)

 Moving Forward on the Problem of Consciousness
Churchland might insist that by "luminescence" he means something quite independent of experience, which physical accounts still do not explain: but then the obvious reply is that there is no good reason to believe in luminescence in the first place.
Churchland is also right to note that it is not always obvious just where experience is present and where it is not, especially in fringe cases.
Churchland's point would be a relevant rebuttal to an argument that rested on it, or to an argument from ignorance, but my argument is nothing of the sort.
consc.net /papers/moving.html   (21276 words)

 Maverick Philosopher Paul Churchland on Eliminative Materialism
Reflecting on this phenomenological difference, one sees how crude Churchland's scheme is. He thinks that mental data such as pains and pleasures are on a par with outer objects like stars and planets.
So I am not begging the question against Churchland when I insist that pains exist: I am not assuming that the "traditional conceptualization" is the correct one.
I think you are right that Churchland (and probably many other eliminativists) work from an impoverished view of mental life.
maverickphilosopher.powerblogs.com /posts/1143758604.shtml   (2454 words)

 Books: Matter and Consciousness - Revised Edition
, Paul Churchland clearly presents the advantages and disadvantages of such difficult issues in philosophy of mind as behaviorism, reductive materialism, functionalism, and eliminative materialism.
This new edition incorporates the striking developments that have taken place in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence and notes their expanding relevance to philosophical issues.
Churchland organizes and clarifies the new theoretical and experimental results of the natural sciences for a wider philosophical audience, observing that this research bears directly on questions concerning the basic elements of cognitive activity and their implementation in real physical systems.
cognet.mit.edu /library/books/view?isbn=0262530740   (141 words)

 WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM A THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS? - Patricia S. Churchland - Athenaeum Library of Philosophy
Editor's opinion - Together with her husband Paul they are undoubtedly the leading philosophers of the modern age.
Churchland's achievements and publications can be accessed at the bottom of this page.
As Paul Teller (1992) puts it, the subjectivity of the experience is just the having of the experience, not some ineffable kind of knowledge.
evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com /churchland_p01.htm   (7564 words)

 Book review of Paul Churchland   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-30)
It is only the vocabulary of our "folk psychology" that refers to beliefs and desires, sensations, emotions, thoughts, etc. We explain people's behavior by using this terminology, which ascribes mental states to people.
According to Churchland, evidence that folk psychology is unscientific includes: 1.that it has remained the same since the ancient Greeks (but so does arithmetic, doesn't it?); 2.
Churchland denies any validity to "first person" mental life, to consciousness, the self, emotions, etc. He grounds his objection to the fact that there is nothing in the brain that resembles what folk psychology talks about: there are only patterns of activity ("activation vectors").
www.thymos.com /mind/churchla.html   (232 words)

 Paul Churchland - Cambridge University Press
For over three decades, Paul Churchland has been a provocative and controversial philosopher of mind and of science.
He is most famous as an advocate of 'eliminative materialism', whereby he suggests that our commonsense understanding of our own minds is radically defective and that the science of brain demonstrates this (just as an understanding of physics reveals that our commonsense understanding of a flat and motionless earth is similarly false).
Including contributions by both established and promising young philosophers, it is intended to complement the growing literature on Churchland, focusing on his contributions in isolation from those of his wife and philosophical partner, Patricia Churchland, as well as on his contributions to philosophy as distinguished from those to Cognitive Science.
www.cambridge.org /catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0511137974   (296 words)

 Patricia Churchland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
She is currently chair of the UCSD Philosophy Department, an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and an associate of the Computational Neuroscience Laboratory (Sejnowski Lab) at the Salk Institute.
She is the wife of philosopher Paul Churchland and particularly noted for her work in philosophy of mind and neurophilosophy.
She is associated with a school of thought called eliminativism or eliminative materialism, which argues that folk psychology concepts such as belief, free will, and consciousness will likely need to be revised as science understands more about the nature of brain function.
en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Patricia_Churchland   (319 words)

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