The Algebraic Mind
In The Algebraic Mind, Gary Marcus attempts to integrate two theories about how the mind works, one that says that the mind is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and another that says that the mind is a large network of neurons working together in parallel. Resisting the conventional wisdom that says that if the mind is a large neural network it cannot simultaneously be a manipulator of symbols, Marcus outlines a variety of ways in which neural systems could be organized so as to manipulate symbols, and he shows why such systems are more likely to provide an adequate substrate for language and cognition than neural systems that are inconsistent with the manipulation of symbols. Concluding with a discussion of how a neurally realized system of symbol-manipulation could have evolved and how such a system could unfold developmentally within the womb, Marcus helps to set the future agenda of cognitive neuroscience.
About the Authors
Susan Carey is the Henry A. Morss Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is the first woman to receive the 2009 David E. Rumelhart Prize, given annually since 2001 for significant contributions to the theoretical foundation of human cognition.
Gary F. Marcus is Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University.
—Steven Pinker, Peter de Florez Professor, MIT, and author of How the Mind Works and Words and Rules
—Ned Block, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, New York University
—Arthur B. Markman, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, and author of Knowledge Representation
—Paul Bloom, Professor, Department of Psychology, Yale University
—Ray Jackendoff, Professor of Linguistics, Brandeis University
—C. R. Gallistel, Professor, Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University