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Ch. 6: Modularity and Emergence 
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Post Ch. 6: Modularity and Emergence
Ch. 6: Modularity and Emergence

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 6: Modularity and Emergence. :drunk:



Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:38 pm
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Much of this chapter was a shorter, simplified version of Stephen Pinker's How the Mind Works. There wasn't much that was new to me.

Burton's discussion of localized modules in the brain reminded me of a joke:

Scientists have demonstrated that grasshopper's ears are on their legs. When you make a loud noise near a grasshopper, it jumps. However, if you chop off its legs, it doesn't jump.

Electrical stimulation, brain injuries, and unusual conditions like synesthesia provide evidence that particular sensory and emotional perceptions are tied to certain parts of the brain. However, you shouldn't overstate that modular behavior, since, as Burton suggests, mental activity can also be viewed as an emergent behavior across the entire brain.



Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:19 am
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He does a good job of introducing the concept of modularity, or building blocks, without slighting the complexity of conceiving complex behaviors in terms of modules.

He identifies the feeling of knowing as one of these building blocks or modules, because one can produce it by stimulating the brain. But I don't follow him when he says that how we build a thought from scratch will bear on the whole matter of whether we really have a rational mind. I'm assuming he means a mind that we understand and are in control of. Or do genetic mechanisms and involuntary thoughts mean that we're not so much in control after all? Maybe we'll see!
DWill



Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:50 pm
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