Publication 5026

Asaro P. M. (2006) Computers as models of the mind: On simulations, brains and the design of early computers. In: Franchi S. & Bianchini F. (eds.) The search for a theory of cognition: Early mechanisms and new ideas. Rodopi, Amsterdam: 89–116. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5026
Excerpt: The purpose of this essay is to clarify some of the important senses in which the relationship between the brain and the computer might be considered as one of “modeling.” It also considers the meaning of “simulation” in the relationships between models, computers and brains. While there has been a fairly broad literature emerging on models and simulations in science, these have primarily focused on the physical sciences, rather than the mind and brain. And while the cognitive sciences have often invoked concepts of modeling and simulation, they have been frustratingly inconsistent in their use of these terms, and the implicit relations to their scientific roles. My approach is to consider the early convolution of brain models and computational models in cybernetics, with the aim of clarifying their significance for more current debates in the cognitive sciences. It is my belief that clarifying the historical senses in which the brain and computer serve as models of each other in the historical period prior to the birth of AI and cognitive science is a crucial task for an archeology of AI and the history of cognitive science.

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