Brain Myth #4: A Viable Brain Theory would use Standard Terminology

When people learn of the MA (Memory Activation) Theory of Mind/Brain, they are often surprised by the terminology. That is, I don’t have any! Of course I use neuroscience terms such as “neurons,” “functional neural networks,” “large scale neural activity,” etc. But in describing the mind I simply use everyday words: memory, experience, thought, emotion, intention etc. I seldom use cognitive science terms such as “phenomenology,” “neurocognitive networks,” “semantic memory,” or “executive control.”

Why not? Because, like any paradigm-shifting theory, the MA Theory is based on an entirely new set of philosophical assumptions. These are the foundation of an original model of brain mechanics.

For example, the MA Theory assumes 1) the mind is the key to brain understanding, (2) the mind is most accurately understood as the contents of experience i.e. daily awareness; (3) the mind = (mostly) a set of general memories, based on past experience (ex: “I recognize that as an apple, it is a nutritious snack, I want to reach for it…”). These assumptions lead to the formula mind = a set of (connected, weighted) general memories = a set of functional neural network ranges.

If a brain theory is based on an entirely new view of the mind, then old terminology won’t work. New terms — in this case, everyday language — is required to paint the new picture of how brains work.

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