By Jean-Pierre Changeux
In this wide-ranging e-book, one of many boldest thinkers in sleek neuroscience confronts an historic philosophical challenge: will we comprehend the area because it relatively is?
Drawing on provocative new findings in regards to the psychophysiology of notion and judgment in either human and nonhuman primates, and likewise at the cultural historical past of technological know-how, Jean-Pierre Changeux makes a strong case for the truth of clinical development and argues that it types the foundation for a coherent and common thought of human rights. in this view, trust in goal wisdom isn't really an insignificant ideological slogan or a naïve confusion; it's a attribute function of human cognition all through evolution, and the medical approach its such a lot refined embodiment. trying to reconcile technological know-how and humanism, Changeux holds that the ability to acknowledge truths which are self reliant of subjective own event constitutes the root of a human civil society.
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Extra info for The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge
Most addictive drugs possess a chemical structure similar to that of endogenous neurotransmitters and, like these substances, bind to speciﬁc receptors. In effect they act as surrogates for neurotransmitters involved in reinforcement. Consumed regularly over long periods, their presence in the organism creates adaptive changes in the brain’s circuits, with the result that these circuits can function normally only in the presence of the drug. In its absence the adaptive neural trace persists, however, and sudden deprivation causes major disturbances.
The number of successful escapes, Thorndike found, increases with the number of trials. From this he concluded that there exists a causal The Acquisition of Knowledge 41 relation between spontaneous behavior, the action of the organism on its environment, and a given event: action may be shaped and reinforced by means of positive rewards (what he called a “satisfying state of affairs”) received from the outside world; or it may be suppressed and redirected by punishment (an “annoying state of affairs”).
It is not enough merely to note the complexity exhibited by this system of interrelated hierarchical and parallel networks. In order to understand the architecture and the function of the human brain, we need to know how these networks emerged in the course of biological evolution and embryonic development. 38 These functional levels do not agree with the familiar tripartite description of information processing, which distinguishes between a physical machine (“hardware”), itself likened to a neural network; the programs the machine runs (“software”) and the algorithms that deﬁne the relation between input and output, imagined to reproduce the physiological activity of an organism; and the computational principles implemented by the machine, replicating the organism’s intentionality or capacity for planning.
The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge by Jean-Pierre Changeux