© 2003

The Brain from 25,000 Feet

High Level Explorations of Brain Complexity, Perception, Induction and Vagueness


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 317)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. Mark A. Changizi
    Pages 1-73
  3. Mark A. Changizi
    Pages 75-150
  4. Mark A. Changizi
    Pages 151-237
  5. Mark A. Changizi
    Pages 239-293
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 295-330

About this book


In The Brain from 25,000 Feet, Mark A. Changizi defends a non-reductionist philosophy and applies it to a variety of problems in the brain sciences. Some of the key questions answered are as follows. Why do we see visual illusions, and why are illusions inevitable for any finite-speed vision machine? Why aren't brains universal learning machines, and what does the riddle of induction and its solution have to do with human learning and innateness? The author tackles such questions as why the brain is folded, and why animals have as many limbs as they do, explaining how these relate to principles of network optimality. He describes how most natural language words are vague and then goes on to explain the connection to the ultimate computational limits on machines. There is also a fascinating discussion of how animals accommodate greater behavioral complexity. This book is a must-read for researchers interested in taking a high-level, non-mechanistic approach to answering age-old fundamental questions in the brain sciences.


behavior complexity cortex learning natural language perception philosophy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical NeurobiologyCaltech, PasadenaUSA

Bibliographic information


"This is a very rich and exceedingly well-written book. I learned a lot."
(Dan Ryder, University of Connecticut, U.S.A., Synthese 141:2)