clouds and naturalized it, it is also truenthat James preferred to write aboutn”conscious mental life,” which he regardednnot as the brain itself but as thenproduct of interaction between thenbrain and the world. Freud also began,npromisingly enough, as a student ofnneurology, but soon took flight intonhigher realms of mythology—imaginentrying to falsify the superego.nThe most amusing case is the irrepressiblenB.F. Skinner, who took upnand refined John B. Watson’s crudentheory of stimulus/response behaviorismnand turned it into a universalistnphilosophy. In the name of hardheadednmaterialism. Skinner studiouslynavoided discussing not only the facts ofnconscious mental life (a large part ofnbeing a behaviorist is learning to describenbehavior without referring tonmental states) but worse, he avoidedneven the brain, partly—it would seemn—for political reasons. Skinner doesnnot like the idea that the human potentialnmight not be quite infinite, thatnit might be limited by the particularnand inherited qualities of the jumblenof neurons (about the size and shape ofntwo fists put together) within our skull.nSkinner is not alone in having anproblem with the brain. Philosophersnare generally fond of grand theoriesnthat transcend what we actually knownabout human life. The exceptionsn—Aristotle and perhaps Hume—arenall too rare. At this point, we know toonlittle about the brain (and the brain isnitself perhaps too complex) to constructna grand and unified psychologicalntheory of the mind. For this reason,nphilosophers either want to bypass thenbrain—like Freud and Skinner—ornlike the various schools of cognitivenpsychology insist that mental life andnbrain events are not the same thing.nNoam Chomsky’s search for a universalngrammar has been paralleled by thenefforts of Daniel Dennett, Jerry Fodor,nJohn Anderson, and others to discovernthe rules governing our mental life.nThe entire project is, in essence, annattempt to elaborate on Kant’s descriptionnof the mind as determined byninnate categories. All this would benlaudable if they did not persist inntreating the mind as if it were a machinenthat processed information innsome way that is distinct from thenorganic functions of the central nervousnsystem.nIt is not that they are spiritualists ornPlatonists or—God forbid—theists.nThey are nothing of the kind. Theynare, every last one of them, thoroughgoingnmaterialists. They just happen tonprefer concentrating on what cannotnbe studied directiy (“mental life”) rathernthan on what can (the brain). RuthnGarrett Millikan has attempted to offerna sort of Aristotelian corrective by providingnan account of mind that beginsnwith the idea of “organic functions.”nWhile Millikan aims at a fuller naturalizationnof epistemology, it is curiousnthat there is littie or no sign of anyninterest in the brain per se. She may benon to something, but it is hard to tell:nthe book is virtually unreadable. If wenhad world enough and time, suchnwriting, lady, were no crime. . . .nFor many cognitive philosophers,nthe favorite model for the way thenmind/brain works is the computer. Ofnthe many objections to this equationn—and to the claim that computersnthink—the most devastating has beennprovided by Searle in the famousn”Chinese-speaking room” argumentnhe has made several times and repeatsnin Minds, Brains, and Science. Imaginena computer programmed to answernquestions in Chinese with a degree ofnfluency equal to that of a native speaker.nDoes the computer “know” Chinese?nTo answer the question he asksnus to imagine ourselves in a room fullnof Chinese symbols. We know nothingnof the language but are provided with anbook instructing us on how to manipulatenthe symbols:nNow suppose that some othernChinese symbols are passedninto the room, and that you arengiven further rules for passingnback Chinese symbols out ofnthe room. Suppose thatnunknown to you the symbolsnpassed into the room are calledn”questions” by the peoplenoutside the room, and thensymbols you pass back out ofnthe room are called “answers tonthe questions.”nWhat if you are so well instructed andnmanipulated that your “answers” arenevery bit as good as the answers givennby a native speaker? The fact remainsnthat you still don’t know a word ofnChinese. Artificial Intelligence, Searlenargues, possesses only syntax. Tonnnthink, there must also be semantics,ni.e., meaning or content. Not onlyndoes no existing digital computer haventhe ability to think, no conceivablencomputer will ever think. Thinking isnan organic function of the brain.nWhen the day comes that we cannmake an organic replica of the brain,nthen and only then will we have designedna computer that thinks.nIf the mind/brain does not work likena computer, the 10 billion individualnneurons are all “like a computer that isnboth digital and analog.” At least, thatnis the suggestion made by the authorsnof The Amazing Brain. Unlike othernbooks that have pretended to explainnthe functions of the brain for thenaverage reader. The Amazing Brain isndetailed and informative. If (like me)nyou have never had a course in biologynor philosophy but want to get a sensenof how the brain works—or at leastnthat bit of it we understand—thennthis is the book for you. It is with considerablenrelief to turn from thenspeculations and inconclusive experimentsnof psychologists and philosophersnto the quite literally “amazing”ndiscoveries of neuroanatomists andnneurophysiologists.nWhat science can do (and it is anblessing as well as a curse) is to posenquestions about material causes. Thentrouble comes when scientific methodsnare indiscriminately applied to thenphenomena of human consciousnessn—in what is called the social sciences.nSearle neatiy explodes the pretensionsnMARCH 1986 /19n