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Title: The cybernetics of concepts : an integrated system of postulates to explain their nature, origins, use, malfunction and maintenance within a natural neural-molecular medium in the brain
Author: Traill, R. R.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3535 9396
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 1978
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Behaviourists and Logical Positivists commendably set out to purge prejudiced arguments from science, but where it is obvious that there remains some sort of "ghost" in their rational "machine", it is self-defeating simply to ignore its existence. Freaud, Piaget, and the ethologists have made some progress in grasping this nettle -- moving towards a material explanation of the "other-worldly" properties of the individual -- but their models of the individual remain nebulously structured in their basic elements. Consequently such theories remain disturbingly controversial, and circumscribed in their applicability. [#] The present work accordingly sets out to bridge this gap by postulating plausible functions for existing micro-structure which could account both for observed behavioural phenomena, and for many of the existing vaguer theoretical constructs. Part A develops such an explanation for Piagetian constructs, while Part B fills in some of the technical details concerning quantitative problems of signal generation, transmission, and selective reception. [#] Part C applies these notions to other non-Piagetian descriptions and interpretations of psychological phenomena, thereby offering an integration and reconciliation of various schools of theory. (Major areas considered include Ashby's "homeostat" approach, biological self-organization, sleep-modes and dreaming, Freudian theories of neuroses, and various theories concerning psychosis). The basic theory itself is meanwhile developed in much greater detail. [#] A recurring theme throughout the work is the notion that knowledge-acquisition by any independent system depends not only on "external" interaction with the "real" world, but also on an active seeking for internal consistency within the resulting "internal" model. This concept is crucial to the study in two ways:- (i) The operation of the brain-systems being considered, and (ii) As a guuide to the methodology of the present study itself -- in an area where experimental data is uncomfortably sparse, and likely to remain so.
Supervisor: George, F. H. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: mental-substructure ; neurophysiology ; coherence-criterion ; Piaget