Review of Paul Churchland’s latest

Here’s a tough review of Paul’s latest outing Plato’s Camera: How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals.

A final striking fact about Churchland’s book is that it seems almost wholly divorced from empirical psychology. Remarkably, indeed, in a book that advances a theory of the mind that is supposed to be empirically supported, Churchland provides only around thirty scientific references, just a third of which date from the twenty-first century, and many of which are computational rather than experimental in nature. One would like to think that he chose to provide only a judicious selection so as not to overwhelm his audience with references. But since he ignores a great many results that appear inconsistent with his main theses, we fear that the paucity of references requires a different explanation. Indeed, Churchland ignores almost entirely the extensive work in developmental and experimental psychology, in neuroscience, and in studies of comparative cognition that have been conducted by cognitive scientists, especially over the last twenty years.