LEON THURMAN, Ed.D.
2/1/2011 11:08:43 AM
For at least 50 years, Nobel Laureate and neuroscientist GERALD M. EDELMAN has been continually researching and theorizing about: (1) the structure and function (internal and external) of "embrained" (my word) mammalian organisms (includes human beings) (2) how such organisms adapt/change/learn as a result of interactions with perceived environments (3) how physical biological processes produce the phenomenon we refer to as "consciousness," e.g., sensory awareness, thought, experiential qualia, learning, and other neuropsychobiological processings.
His findings and perspectives regarding the neuroscience of brains, as I understand them, do not include "computational anything" due to the essentially unimaginable complexity** of neural "states," yet his work is abundantly seminal in understanding them. His work is not referenced at all in the "computational neuroscience" article about which we are commenting. Among his 21st century books is WIDER THAN THE SKY: THE PHENOMENAL GIFT OF CONSCIOUSNESS, Yale University Press, 2004.
**Estimates of brain complexity: 100B NEURONS 900B GLIAL CELLS 1,000 TRILLION SYNAPSES [would take 32M years to count them, assuming one per second] Number of POSSIBLE NEURAL NETWORKS: 10 followed by at least one million zeros [In the known universe, estimated to be 10 followed by 79 zeros of positively charged particles; Edelman & Tononi, 2000, A Universe of Consciousness, Basic Books, p.38] Will computational neuroscience be able to fully explain what happens inside us when the expressive arts are created and responded to?