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Endeavour. 2003 Mar;27(1):32-6.

Integrating mind and brain: Warren S. McCulloch, cerebral localization, and experimental epistemology.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Wilhelmstrasse 44, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


Recently, historians have focused on Warren S. McCulloch's role in the cybernetics movement during the 1940s and 1950s, and his contributions to the development of computer science and communication theory. What has received less attention is McCulloch's early work in neurophysiology, and its relationship to his philosophical quest for an 'experimental epistemology' - a physiological theory of knowledge. McCulloch's early laboratory work during the 1930s addressed the problem of cerebral localization: localizing aspects of behaviour in the cerebral cortex of the brain. Most of this research was done with the Dutch neurophysiologist J.G. Dusser de Barenne at Yale University. The connection between McCulloch's philosophical interests and his experimental work can be expressed as a search for a physiological a priori, an integrated mechanism of sensation.

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