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Investigating a connectionist procedural semantics for structural analogues

This was the title of my doctoral thesis - and I don't mind admitting that I was very pleased and impressed with it at the time.

What was the PhD about?
Meaning, essentially.

Specifically, I was interested in how it is that human brains (and thereby human minds) have knowledge of word meanings. How is the meaning of the word "left" represented in the brain (if it is represented at all)? How is that representation connected to the world?

These innocuous-sounding questions opened up a huge can of worms for me, of course. What is a mind? What is the relation between minds and brains? What is semantics, logic, truth conditions? What role does evolution play in the development of word meanings? What is the relationship between comprehension and language production? How do brains represent the world? And do minds do it differently? What is intentional causation? What is superpositionality? And so on, a seemingly endless series of intriguing issues to explore.

Even now, twelve years after completing the research, I still get excited thinking about these issues. I don't think I've got even close to a proper answer yet, but I do enjoy the journey of finding out.

I had fantastic fun doing my PhD. I met some great and interesting people, played a lot of Ultimate, smoked a lot, and was lucky enough to see my thesis - plus some further research - get published as Connectionism and Meaning.

Other links
There are a relatively small number of authors and books that have been of great inspiration to me, and which I heartily recommend to anyone who wants to gain a "transdisciplinary" understanding of minds and meaning. Have a look at my reading list section to read more.

Identity: Who: The Book
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