The functioning of the brain cannot be understood in terms of neurons as threshold switches. Neurons don't work that way, and, in addition, neurons are not the only functional units in the brain. When we look at how the brain actually functions, we find strong support for an alternative — microgenetic — model of central nervous system functioning. Microgenesis, in turn, has strong implications for the nature of representation and cognition. It forces an interactive, pragmatic model of representation.
Mark H. Bickhard has been at Lehigh University since 1990 as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge (a position created by Donald Campbell). He holds a BS in mathematics, a MS in statistics, and a PhD in human development, all from the University of Chicago. Dr. Bickhard was at the University of Texas at Austin from 1972 to 1990. His interests include theoretical psychology and several related fields, including theoretical biology, both evolutionary and neuroscience, and multiple areas in philosophy. He is the editor of the journal New Ideas in Psychology. Selected Publications (2006) Developmental normativity and normative development. In: Norms in Human Development (Smith L, Vonèche J, eds.), 57-76. Cambridge UP. (2005). Functional scaffolding and self-scaffolding. New Ideas in Psychology 23: 166-173. (2004) Process and emergence: Normative function and representation. Axiomathes 14: 135-169. (2003) The biological emergence of representation. In: Emergence and Reduction: Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society (Brown T, Smith L, ed), 105-131. Erlbaum. (1995) Foundational Issues in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science: Impasse and Solution (with L. Terveen). Elsevier Scientific. (1986) Knowing Levels and Developmental Stages. Contributions to Human Development (with R. Campbell). Karger. (1983) On the Nature of Representation: A Case Study of James Gibson's Theory of Perception (with M. Richie). Praeger. (1980) Cognition, Convention, and Communication. Praeger Publishers.A number of papers are available for download on his web site.