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The Embodied MindCognitive Science and Human Experience$
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Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262529365

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262529365.001.0001

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Emergent Properties and Connectionism

Emergent Properties and Connectionism

Chapter:
(p.85) 5 Emergent Properties and Connectionism
Source:
The Embodied Mind
Author(s):

Francisco J. Varela

Evan Thompson

Eleanor Rosch

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262529365.003.0005

This chapter analyzes connectionism. In this alternative orientation in cognitive science, the brain has once more become the main source of metaphors and ideas. Theories and models no longer begin with abstract symbolic descriptions but with a whole army of neural-like, simple, unintelligent components, which, when appropriately connected, have interesting global properties. These global properties embody and express the cognitive capacities being sought. The entire approach depends, then, on introducing the appropriate connections, which is usually done through a rule for the gradual change of connections starting from a fairly arbitrary initial state. One of the important factors contributing to the explosive interest in this approach today was the introduction of some effective methods of following the changes that can occur in these networks. Indeed, great attention has been given to the introduction of statistical measures that provide the system with a global energy function that permits one to follow how the system arrives into convergent states.

Keywords:   connectionism, cognitive science, cognitive capacities, neural networks, connections

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