The Philosopher’s Encephalon

Neurophilosophy, the originator of the mind/brain Encephalon carnival, is hosting the 54th edition this week. Mo opens with a striking quote from Ramon y Cajal describing neural plasticity at the turn of LAST century, and gives us his editor’s choice, Caio Maximo’s piece on the evolution of modularity.

What’s interesting is the contrast between these two, a view of changing connections versus a view of functional modules. A way out might be to consider multi-level selection, with plasticity and modularity happening at different levels. Another point is to realize the the way our brains and the evolutionary process break problems down into parts is not necessarily related to the way we think about function today – machine-like, optimal, accomplishing one thing, and so forth. Mosaic evolution, canalization and hill climbing are about processes, not functional modules…

In any case, the Neurophilosopher has put together an excellent edition – watching sports is good for your brain, the hippocampus and memories of the Simpsons, and how beauty modulates pain are just a few of the things to enjoy.

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