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From Molecule to Metaphor: A Neural Theory of Language (Bradford Books)

– tekijä: Jerome A. Feldman

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
723289,878 (4.8)-
In From Molecule to Metaphor, Jerome Feldman proposes a theory of language and thought that treats language not as an abstract symbol system but as a human biological ability that can be studied as a function of the brain, as vision and motor control are studied. This theory, he writes, is a "bridging theory" that works from extensive knowledge at two ends of a causal chain to explicate the links between. Although the cognitive sciences are revealing much about how our brains produce language and thought, we do not yet know exactly how words are understood or have any methodology for finding out. Feldman develops his theory in computer simulations -- formal models that suggest ways that language and thought may be realized in the brain. Combining key findings and theories from biology, computer science, linguistics, and psychology, Feldman synthesizes a theory by exhibiting programs that demonstrate the required behavior while remaining consistent with the findings from all disciplines. After presenting the essential results on language, learning, neural computation, the biology of neurons and neural circuits, and the mind/brain, Feldman introduces specific demonstrations and formal models of such topics as how children learn their first words, words for abstract and metaphorical concepts, understanding stories, and grammar (including "hot-button" issues surrounding the innateness of human grammar). With this accessible, comprehensive book Feldman offers readers who want to understand how our brains create thought and language a theory of language that is intuitively plausible and also consistent with existing scientific data at all levels.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 3/3
If you read "On Intelligence" [...] and it left you hanging, wanting more, this book is perfect for you. But, be prepared to spend a lot more time thinking.

As the book's title promises, Dr. Feldman walks the reader through an explanation of how language and thought have their roots in chemical reactions at the molecular level, a neuron firing. Through twenty-seven masterfully staged chapters, one is exposed to all of the mind-boggling complexity that leads to communication and understanding. I'm sure that each chapter is deserving of a book of its own but the author has managed to give you just the right exposure in a dozen or so pages.

I read the book over a period of a few weeks as I could seldom dedicate more time in a sitting than what it took me to process one chapter. But, this always left me looking forward to getting back to where I left off. It turned out to be a good approach for me; the book is full of backward references for review, and forward references to keep things in context.

Dr. Feldman takes a low-key approach (little sensationalism, mostly matter-of-fact descriptions) to concepts presented. I enjoyed the journey the book took me on; the highlight for me (background in computer science) was the computer models, the simulations. Computer programs can only do what they are told. So, constructing and running computer models is sure to point out any existing weakness in the author's understanding. But, when they exhibit the proposed behavior, how satisfying!

From the preface:

"This book proposes to begin integrating current insights from many disciplines into a coherent neural theory of language... Understanding language and thought requires combining findings from biology, computer science, linguistics, and psychology... If you want to understand how our brains create thought and language, there is a fair chance that this book can help."

There are nine sections to the book:

I. Embodied Information Processing
II. How the Brain Computes
III. How the Mind Computes
IV. Learning Concrete Words
V. Learning Words for Actions
VI. Abstract and Metaphorical Words
VII. Understanding Stories
VIII. Combining Form and Meaning
IX. Embodied Language

Dr. Feldman has spent twenty-five years working in the area and you can tell from the story he has put together. A very interesting one. ( )
  guyhaas | Apr 15, 2020 |
Excellent and thought provoking ideas about the mind and language ( )
  LATN7 | Oct 23, 2009 |
It's now available as an ebook on the MIT press portal http://mitpress-ebooks.mit.edu/product/from-molecule-to-metaphor
  ipublishcentral | Aug 11, 2009 |
näyttää 3/3
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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In From Molecule to Metaphor, Jerome Feldman proposes a theory of language and thought that treats language not as an abstract symbol system but as a human biological ability that can be studied as a function of the brain, as vision and motor control are studied. This theory, he writes, is a "bridging theory" that works from extensive knowledge at two ends of a causal chain to explicate the links between. Although the cognitive sciences are revealing much about how our brains produce language and thought, we do not yet know exactly how words are understood or have any methodology for finding out. Feldman develops his theory in computer simulations -- formal models that suggest ways that language and thought may be realized in the brain. Combining key findings and theories from biology, computer science, linguistics, and psychology, Feldman synthesizes a theory by exhibiting programs that demonstrate the required behavior while remaining consistent with the findings from all disciplines. After presenting the essential results on language, learning, neural computation, the biology of neurons and neural circuits, and the mind/brain, Feldman introduces specific demonstrations and formal models of such topics as how children learn their first words, words for abstract and metaphorical concepts, understanding stories, and grammar (including "hot-button" issues surrounding the innateness of human grammar). With this accessible, comprehensive book Feldman offers readers who want to understand how our brains create thought and language a theory of language that is intuitively plausible and also consistent with existing scientific data at all levels.

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