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The Nature of Explanation Paperback – October 1, 1967
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Kenneth Craik published only one complete work of any length, this essay on The Nature of Explanation. Here he considers thought as a term for the conscious working of a highly complex machine, viewing the brain as a calculating machine which can model or parallel external events.
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A high point of the book for me was on page 92 of Chapter 6, Some Consequences of This Hypothesis, where the human finally overshadows the professor through this statement: "Confusion of two similar concepts is a fruitful cause of erroneous thinking. (I am particularly addicted to it, and if I ever conceive any original idea, it will be because I have been abnormally prone to confuse ideas, but have just saved myself by experimental verification, and have thus found remote analogies and relations which others have not considered! Others rarely make these confusions, and proceed by precise analysis.)" Craik did indeed have an original thought, the idea of mental models. One of the reasons I read this book was to see if I could find why this idea had lain dormant until Johnson-Laird revived it in 1983, and the general denseness of this book may be a big reason. But just because Craik was a less than captivating author doesn't detract from his very important place in the history of thought.