COG SCI: Gerald Taylor's "The Race for Consciousness"
Sat, 31 Jul 1999 08:07:44 EDT

I'm reading Gerald Taylor's book "The Race for Consciousness". Has anyone else read this book? Taylor lays out the neuroanatomical and functional details of what he calls his "relational consciousness" model, making (to my layman's eyes) a detailed argument from the neuronal level, through the level of individual neural net circuits, up to the functional level, that the "hard problems" of consciousness and cognitive science (even *qualia*) can all be explained through the "competition" of cognitive "primitives" (my term) instantiated in specific neural net representations. He cites a good deal of empirical work, including clinical observation of brain damage and dysfunction, surgical experiments on humans and other animals, network simulation and straightforward neuroanatomy. He also relates his explanations to every other major work in cognitive science of which I'm aware. Although not particularly well written (it could have really have been improved by a thorough editing from a literary viewpoint), this book has impressed me for just how completely an exhaustive list of cognitive phenomena can now be linked to specific brain areas and functions, so much so that I keep wanting to ship copies of it to working AI researchers.

I'd be keenly interested in any opinions by folks more informed about cognitive science of the theories and analysis contained in this book. The schematics contained in this book look to me to be a fairly detailed plan for a working general-purpose AI.

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-

"Civilization is protest against nature;
progress requires us to take control of evolution." -- Thomas Huxley