Models for the Brain

Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured the brain was a telegraph switchboard. (What else could be?) I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electromagnetic systems. Leibnitz compared it to a mill and I am told that some of the ancient Greeks though the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.

~ John R. Searle (1932-07-31 age:85)