Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection

By Gerald M. Edelman | Go to book overview

12
Summary, Predictions,
and Implications

Summary 316 · The biological question 316 · The psychological question 316 · The ethological question 316 · Brief overview of the theory 318 · Explanatory adequacy of the theory 321 · Some predictions: Selection mechanisms 323 · Reentrant maps 325 · Categorization 326 · Concluding remarks 328


INTRODUCTION

A useful theory should have explanatory power, make predictions, and point out directions for further experimental inquiry and refinement. A theory about complex systems necessarily has to contain a number of partial theories and models. The neuronal group selection theory is such a theory. In view of the intricacies of neural function, the likelihood is great that certain mechanistic details in the models subsumed under the main theory will turn out to be incorrect. It is therefore useful to ask stringently what the essential components are and to point out those that must remain robust in a minimal version for the theory to survive and be useful. In this chapter, we will review the key ideas in this book, emphasizing the essential components of the theory, falsification of which would require its abandonment. This will provide the opportunity for some further refinements of these ideas and for an analysis of the limits of their explanatory power. We may then take up some of the considerable number of predictions made by the theory.

-315-

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