Turing and the origins of AI

Philosophia Mathematica 3 (1):52-85 (1995)
Abstract
Reading through Mechanica1 Intelligence, volume III of Alan Turing's Collected Works, one begins to appreciate just how propitious Turing's timing was. If Turing's major accomplishment in ‘On Computable Numbers’ was to expose the epistemological premises built into formalism, his main achievement in the 1940s was to recognize the extent to which this outlook both harmonized with and extended contemporary psychological thought. Turing sought to synthesize these diverse mathematical and psychological elements so as to forge a union between ‘embodied rules’ and ‘learning programs’. Through their joint service in the Mechanist Thesis each would validate the other: and the frameworks from whence each derived. In this paper I will try to show how Turing's psychological thesis forces us to reassess the consequences of establishing AI on the epistemological foundation that underlies behaviourism.
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