Walter Jackson Freeman III

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Walter Jackson Freeman III (born January 30, 1927), is an American biologist, theoretical neuroscientist[1] and philosopher who has conducted pioneering research in how brains generate meaning. His main body of research has been on the perception of rabbits using electroencephalography. Based on a theoretical framework of neurodynamics that draws upon insights from chaos theory, he believes that the currency of brains is primarily meaning, and only secondarily information.[citation needed]

In "Societies of Brains" and in other writings Freeman rejects the view that the brain uses representations to enable knowledge and behavior.


Walter Freeman was born in Washington, DC. His father was the lobotomist Walter Jackson Freeman II; his great-grandfather was William Williams Keen, the first brain surgeon in the United States.

Freeman studied physics and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, electronics in the Navy in World War II, philosophy at the University of Chicago, medicine at Yale University, internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and neuropsychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles. He received his M.D. cum laude in 1954, the Bennett Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry in 1964, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965, the MERIT Award from NIMH in 1990, and the Pioneer Award from the Neural Networks Council of the IEEE in 1992.[citation needed] He is a Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology, University of California Berkeley.

Freeman was President of the International Neural Network Society in 1994, and is a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He has authored over 450 articles and 4 books.

In 2008, Freeman proposed that Thomism is the philosophical system explaining cognition that is most compatible with neurodynamics.[2]


  • Freeman, Walter. Mass Action in the Nervous System, 1975
  • Freeman, Walter. Societies of Brains, 1995
  • Freeman, Walter. How Brains Make up Their Minds, 1999
  • Freeman, Walter. Neurodynamics, 2000


  1. Bulkeley, Kelly (2005). Soul, psyche, brain: new directions in the study of religion and brain-mind science. Macmillan. pp. 163–. ISBN 9781403965097. Retrieved March 27, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Freeman, Walter (2008). "Nonlinear Brain Dynamics and Intention According to Aquinas" (PDF). Mind & Matter. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic. 62 (2): 207–234. ISSN 2051-3003. Retrieved April 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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