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March 1969

The Uncertain Nervous System.

Arch Neurol. 1969;20(3):332. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480090120018

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This well-written book by the Head of the Division of Physiology and Pharmacology of the (British) National Institutes of Medical Research examines the current status and explores possible future trends of the study of the central nervous system as brain. We are not yet sure that in seeking to study brain our own brains are asking the right questions. Thus, it is at least likely that "the uncertain nervous system" is our own and not that under investigation. It is useful therefore, as Delisle Burns does, to explore and try to evaluate the various approaches that have been used, from the more or less primitive analogies to the computer-inspired stochastic models. The discussion of the latter is well proportioned although I was surprised to find no mention of von Neumann or Wiener. In welcome contrast to many writers on the brain as a stochastic system, Burns refers frequently to specific

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