9 04 2008

In one important respect Descartes was breaking new ground. By comparing the workings of the brain with that of complex hyrdraulic machines, he was regarding the most technologically advanced artefacts of his day as templates for understanding the brain. This is a tradition that persists today; when we refer to computers and computational operations as models of how the brain acquires, processes, and stores information, for example. So while Descartes was hopelessly wrong in detail, he was adopting a modern style of reasoning.

-Michael O’Shea, The Brain: A Very Short Introduction
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