Why the Mind is Not a Computer
A Pocket Lexicon of Neuromythology
November 2004, 96 pages
"Raymond Tallis is a splendid exception to the helpless specialisation of our age, being a professor of gerontology who writes clear and useful philosophy. . . . He aims his philosophy at a target that needs it terribly, namely the confused and lazy-minded scientism that blocks our attempts to talk sense about human consciousness." - Mary Midgley, Times Higher Education Supplement.
"Here is a work of radical clarity. . . . Tallis takes some of the most cherished concepts and exposes the muddles perpetuated by the cognitive science community. . . . It is a welcome astringent to some of the more vacuous approaches in the discipline." - Paul Rogers, Journal of Consciousness Studies.
"A superb set of accessible and provocative reminders concerning the subtleties involved in our use of language, symbols, signs, and the limitations upon their use when positing explanations (as opposed to merely descriptions) of mental phenomena. Together with the texts listed in the bibliography, I would envisage critical use of Tallis' various lexicon entries providing great tutorial discussion material for psychology, philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience majors alike. I thus strongly recommend this book for its advice to all in search of an explanation (rather than merely a representational redescription) of the phenomenon of human consciousness." Tony Dickinson, Metapsychology
The equation "Mind = Machine" is false. This pocket lexicon of "neuromythology" shows why. Taking a series of key words such as calculation, language, information and memory, Professor Tallis shows how their misuse has a lured a whole generation into accepting the computational model of the mind.
First of all these words were used literally in the description of the human mind. Then computer scientists applied them metaphorically to the workings of their machines. And finally, their metaphorical status forgotten, the use of the terms was called as evidence of artificial intelligence in machines and the computational nature of conscious thought.
"Tallis explores this sleight of hand with masterly verve so that readers need never be fooled again." Network
Table of Contents
Goals (Functions, Objects, Purposes, Aims, Plans)
Raymond Tallis's many books include The Hand: A Philosophical Inquiry into Human Being, On the Edge of Certainty: Philosophical Explorations, The Explicit Animal: A Defence of Human Consciousness, A Conversation with Martin Heidegger, The Raymond Tallis Reader and Newton's Sleep: The Two Cultures and the Two Kingdoms.