A brief history of connectionism and its psychological implications

AI and Society 4 (1):17-38 (1990)
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Critics of the computational connectionism of the last decade suggest that it shares undesirable features with earlier empiricist or associationist approaches, and with behaviourist theories of learning. To assess the accuracy of this charge the works of earlier writers are examined for the presence of such features, and brief accounts of those found are given for Herbert Spencer, William James and the learning theorists Thorndike, Pavlov and Hull. The idea that cognition depends on associative connections among large networks of neurons is indeed one with precedents, although the implications of this for psychological issues have been interpreted variously — not all versions of connectionism are alike
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