An integrated theory of nervous system functioning embracing nativism and constructivism*


Brian D. Josephson
Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK

October 14, 1997


Neural constructivists have proclaimed, on the basis of arguments which it is suggested in the following are unconvincing, a view of the nervous system which has little place for innate knowledge relating to specific domains. In this paper an alternative position is developed, which by instantiating innate knowledge in a flexible manner provides a more credible alternative. It invokes dynamical systems whose behaviour initially accords with specific algorithms but is modifiable during development, in combination with an object-oriented programming architecture that provides a natural means of specifying systems that have special knowledge of how to approach specific classes of situation.

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* paper presented at the International Complex Systems Conference, Nashua, NH, USA, September 21-26, 1997.