Bridgeman's (1998) example of a class of networks that are grounded in the known neuroanatomy of the Limulus addresses many of the problems I raised quite nicely. I also discuss the differences between the terms "connectionist," "PDP," and "neural network."
2. Bridgeman remarks (1998, Abstract) that PDP models are sometimes "misnamed" connectionist. This is not "misnaming," though it courts an ambiguity. "Connectionist" is a broad term that encompasses PDP models, localist network models (such as "semantic networks"), and even Thorndike's old learning theory. Another popular term, "neural network," is to be avoided because it assumes a particular theory of such networks -- viz., that they are simulations of neural structure or activity -- a theory that users of the term are often willing to trade on when convenient, but not always willing to commit to explicitly when push comes to shove. That is to say, it carries a touch of propaganda with it, a bit like old communist states calling themselves "People's Republics." The term "connectionist" rather than "PDP" was used in the target article because it lends itself to the morphology of the language better than PDP. Compare: "connectionists" vs. "PDPers"(?), "connectionistic" vs. "PDPish"(?), "connectionism" vs. "PDPishness"(?)... In any case, my target article was intended mainly as a discussion of PDP models, not of all things that might be described as "connectionist."
Bridgeman, B. (1998) Models and theories of cognition are algorithms: Commentary on Green on connectionist-explanation. PSYCOLOQUY 9 (22) ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1998.volume.9/ psyc.98.9.22.connectionist-explanation.19.bridgeman
Green, C.D. (1998) Are Connectionist Models Theories of Cognition? PSYCOLOQUY 9 (4) ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1998.volume.9/ psyc.98.9.04.connectionist-explanation.1.green