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ilosophical journal of the University of Navarra publishes an interview with James L. McClelland, founder of connectionism

This current proposes a new description of the mind based on neural nets

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22/12/05 09:34 Mª Pilar Huarte

The Anuario Filosófico, the philosophical journal of the University of Navarra, presented in the final issue of 2005, an exclusive interview with James L. McClelland, one of the founders of connectionism. The interview developed out of a conversation with Dr. Belén Pascual, a neuroscience researcher at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra, during her attendance at the Summer School of Oxford.

"James L. McClelland has proposed a new description of the structure of the mind based on a neural net model; in computer science, neural net models consist of many processing units which are analogous to neurons, and which are interconnected in a distributed and parallel manner." According to Dr. Pascual, "this manner of understanding the mind is much more illuminating and fecund than the classic model, which presents the brain as a digital computer which performs lineal symbolic processing."

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology and Biology

James L. McClelland, along with David E. Rumelhart, published in 1986 a study entitled Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition, which today is considered "the Bible of connectionism". In addition, he is one of the founding members of the PDP Group (Parallel Distributed Processing), a revolutionary movement within cognitive science. The proposal of connectionism has awakened interest both among psychologists and philosophers, as well as among neuroscientists and engineers, due to its theoretical content and the practical applications which this theoretical approach makes possible in research in Artificial Intelligence, Psychology and Biology.

The Anuario Filosófico has published in its entirety the translation of the original interview with Dr. Belén Pascual. The interview reflects the identity of the connectionist movement and its relationship with the principal problems which are facing the contemporary philosophy of mind, including, among others, computational simulation techniques and connectionist models. Along with this interview, the journal offers monographic philosophical studies and shorter articles, as well as a section of book reviews.

More information on the Anuario Filosófico can be found at: http://www.unav.es/publicaciones/anuariofilosofico/contenidos/eng.htm