Patricia Churchland quotes

  • Although many philosophers used to dismiss the relevance of neuroscience on grounds that what mattered was the software, not the hardware, increasingly philosophers have come to recognize that understanding how the brain works is essential to understanding the mind.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Understanding #Brain #Mind

  • Being engaged in some way for the good of the community, whatever that community, is a factor in a meaningful life. We long to belong, and belonging and caring anchors our sense of place in the universe.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Meaningful #Atheist #Caring

  • Humility bids us to take ourselves as we are; we do not have to be cosmically significant to be genuinely significant.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Humility #Significant

  • Brains are not magical; they are causal machines.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Brain #Machines

  • I am less attracted to guesses about what cannot be done, than about making progress on a problem.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Progress #Done #Problem

  • If you give up because you announce the phenomenon cannot be explained, you are missing out.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Giving Up #Missing #Phenomenon

  • When that theory is isolated from known facts, it is likely not to be productive.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Facts #Theory #Isolated

  • It seems that the brain has a "small world" architecture - or at least the cortex does. Everything can connect to everything else in a few synaptic steps.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Brain #Doe #World

  • I made the assumption, wrong of course, that conceptual analysis was a brief preliminary on the road to finding out about the nature of free will, consciousness, the self, the origin of values, and so forth.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Self #Analysis #Assumption

  • Knowing about the neurobiological and evolutionary basis for social behavior can soften the arrogance and self-righteousness that often attends discussions of morality. It may help us all to think a little more carefully and rationally.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Thinking #Self #Knowing

  • In all probability, mental states are processes and activities of the brain. Exactly what activities, and exactly at what level of description, remains to be seen.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Brain #Levels #States

  • Even philosophers who did not mind psychology, claimed the brain was irrelevant because it was the hardware, and we only need to know about the software.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Psychology #Brain #Mind

  • Theorizing is of course essential to make progress in understanding, but theorizing in the absence of knowing available relevant facts is not very productive.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Knowing #Understanding #Progress

  • The neuroscience of consciousness is not going to stop in its tracks because some philosophers guesses that project cannot be productive.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Track #Philosopher #Consciousness

  • If I want to know how we learn and remember and represent the world, I will go to psychology and neuroscience. If I want to know where values come from, I will go to evolutionary biology and neuroscience and psychology, just as Aristotle and Hume would have, were they alive.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Psychology #Alive #World

  • It is surely important that the differences between coma, deep sleep, being under anesthesia, on the one hand, and being alert on the other, all involve changes in the brain.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Sleep #Hands #Differences

  • It seems probable that humans have been on the planet, with much the same brain, for about 250,000 years.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Years #Brain #Planets

  • Analyzing a concept can (perhaps) tell you what the concept means (at least means to some philosophers), but it does not tell you anything about whether the concept is true of anything in the world.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Mean #Doe #World

  • Suppression of impulses that would put you in danger is obviously an important neurobiological function.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Important #Danger #Function

  • When philosophers try to understand consciousness, much of what they claim is not conceptual analysis at all, though it may be shopped under that description.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Trying #Analysis #May

  • Remember, in the heyday of vitalism, people said that when all the data are in about cells and how they work, we will still know nothing about the life force - about the basic difference between being alive and not being alive.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Cells #Data #Differences

  • I had no idea what philosophy was until I went to college at UBC. I first read Hume and Plato, so naturally I was under the misapprehension that philosophers are trying to figure out what is true, and that contemporary philosophers are mainly trying to figure out what is true about the mind. Of course Hume and Plato were trying to do that, hence my misapprehension.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Plato #Philosophy #College

  • Studies of decision-making in the monkey, where activity of single neurons in parietal cortex is recorded, you can see a lot about the time-accuracy trade-off in the monkey's decision, and you can see from the neuron's activity at what point in his accumulation of evidence he makes his decision to make a particular movement.
    -- Patricia Churchland

    #Decision #Movement #Neurons