By Gonzalo Munévar

A few philosophers imagine that Paul Feyerabend is a clown, an outstanding many others imagine that he's the most interesting philosophers of technological know-how of this century. For me the reality doesn't lie someplace in among, for i'm decidedly of the second one opinion, an opinion that's turning into basic worldwide as this century involves an finish and heritage starts off to solid its appraising eye upon the highbrow harvest of our period. a great instance of this opinion should be present in the admiration for Feyerabend's philosophy of technology expressed by means of Grover Maxwell in his contribution to this quantity. Maxwell, recalling his personal highbrow transformation, says additionally that it used to be Feyerabend who "confirmed my then incipient suspicions that almost all of the principles of at present stylish philosophy or even loads of the method to which many scientists pay enthusiastic lip carrier are in keeping with uncomplicated mistake—assumptions whose absurdity turns into noticeable as soon as consciousness is directed at them". And lest the reader thinks, as many nonetheless do, that even if sharp Feyerabend's assaults upon the philosophical institution can have been, he doesn't supply a good philosophy (a whinge made via C.A. Hooker and a few of the opposite contributors), Paul Churchland argues in a different way.

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Extra resources for Beyond Reason: Essays on the Philosophy of Paul Feyerabend

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This example illustrates that the moving point in weight/error space (see again Figure Ib) is often obliged to take a highly circuitous path in following the local error gradient downwards in hopes of fmding a global error minimum. That path may well go through points that preclude both a decent output from the network and a proper lesson from the learning algorithm for at least some of the student weights. Only when the network 20 PAUL M. CHURCHLAND reaches a subsequent point can these defects be repaired.

That framework may be well trained and finely tuned, or it may be uninstructed and inchoate. But whichever it is, no cognitive activity takes place save as the input vectors pass through that speculative configuration of synaptic connections, that theory. Theory-Iadenness thus emerges not as an unwelcome and accidental blight on what would otherwise be a neutral cognitive achievement, but rather as that which makes processing activity genuinely cognitive in the first place. From this perspective it is evident that the process of learning about the world is not just the process of learning which general beliefs to embrace, as guided by our neutral perceptual judgments.

But on the model of cognition outlined above, no cognitive activity whatever takes place without the relevant input vectors passing through the complex filter of a large set of synaptic weights (see again Figure la). Most importantly, any configuration of synaptic weights dictates a specific set of partitions on the activation space of the post-sensory neurons to which they connect. And that set of partitions constitutes a specific conceptual framework or theory, one of many millions of possible alternative frameworks.

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