By Gary F. Marcus

ISBN-10: 0262133792

ISBN-13: 9780262133791

An try to combine theories approximately how the brain works, person who says that the brain is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and one other that claims that the brain is a huge community of neurons operating jointly in parallel.

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Hardly anyone since Skinner has doubted that there are mental representations of one sort or another. What might be less obvious is that advocates of multilayer perceptrons are committed to at least one of the sorts of mental representations that is often taken to be symbolic: the representation of categories or equivalence classes. A programmer building a classical AI model might assign a particular pattern of binary bits to represent the idea of a cat; a programmer building a multilayer perceptron might assign a particular node to represent the idea of a cat.

If all it took to be a symbol was to be a mental representation, probably all modern researchers would agree that there were symbols. Hardly anyone since Skinner has doubted that there are mental representations of one sort or another. What might be less obvious is that advocates of multilayer perceptrons are committed to at least one of the sorts of mental representations that is often taken to be symbolic: the representation of categories or equivalence classes. A programmer building a classical AI model might assign a particular pattern of binary bits to represent the idea of a cat; a programmer building a multilayer perceptron might assign a particular node to represent the idea of a cat.

5 Symbols, Symbol-Manipulators, and Multilayer Perceptrons First, though, before we examine what I think truly distinguishes multilayer perceptrons from symbol-manipulation, it is important to clear up a red herring. A number of people seem to think that a key difference between multilayer perceptrons and symbol-manipulators is that the latter make use of symbols but the former do not. For example, Paul Churchland (1990, p. 227) seems to suggest this when he writes An individual’s overall-theory-of-the-world, we might venture, is not a large collection or a long list of stored symbolic items.

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Algebraic Mind: Integrating Connectionism and Cognitive Science by Gary F. Marcus


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