Margaret Boden presents a series of essays in which she explores the nature of creativity in a wide range of art forms. Creativity in general is the generation of novel, surprising, and valuable ideas (conceptual, theoretical, musical, literary, or visual). Boden identifies three forms of creativity: combinational, exploratory, and transformational. These elicit differing forms of surprise, and are defined by the different kinds of psychological process that generate the new ideas. Boden examines creativity not only in traditional fine art, but (...) also in craftworks, and some less orthodox approaches--namely, conceptual art and several types of computer art. Her Introduction draws out the conceptual links between the various case-studies, showing how they express a coherent view of creativity in art. (shrink)
It’s sometimes said, and even more often assumed, that life is necessary for mind. If so, and if A-Life promises to throw light on the nature of life as such, then A-Life is in principle highly relevant to the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. However, very few philosophers have attempted to argue for the relation between life and mind. It’s usually taken for granted. Even those (mostly in the Continental tradition, including some with a following in A-Life) who have (...) insisted on the linkage have stated it rather than justified it. If an evolutionary account of intentionality is acceptable, then perhaps biological life ‘makes room’ for mind. But that claim is problematic, since it’s not clear that the type of self-organization involved in life-as-such must necessarily include evolution. Even if it does, it’s a further step to show that life is strictly necessary for mind. (shrink)
The development of cognitive science is one of the most remarkable and fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. The quest to understand the mind is as old as recorded human thought; but the progress of modern science has offered new methods and techniques which have revolutionized this enquiry. Oxford University Press now presents a masterful history of cognitive science, told by one of its most eminent practitioners. -/- Cognitive science is the project of understanding the mind by modelling its (...) workings. Psychology is its heart, but it draws together various adjoining fields of research, including artificial intelligence; neuroscientific study of the brain; philosophical investigation of mind, language, logic, and understanding; computational work on logic and reasoning; linguistic research on grammar, semantics, and communication; and anthropological explorations of human similarities and differences. Each discipline, in its own way, asks what the mind is, what it does, how it works, how it developed - how it is even possible. The key distinguishing characteristic of cognitive science, Boden suggests, compared with older ways of thinking about the mind, is the notion of understanding the mind as a kind of machine. She traces the origins of cognitive science back to Descartes's revolutionary ideas, and follows the story through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the pioneers of psychology and computing appear. Then she guides the reader through the complex interlinked paths along which the study of the mind developed in the twentieth century. Cognitive science, in Boden's broad conception, covers a wide range of aspects of mind: not just 'cognition' in the sense of knowledge or reasoning, but emotion, personality, social communication, and even action. In each area of investigation, Boden introduces the key ideas and the people who developed them. -/- No one else could tell this story as Boden can: she has been an active participant in cognitive science since the 1960s, and has known many of the key figures personally. Her narrative is written in a lively, swift-moving style, enriched by the personal touch of someone who knows the story at first hand. Her history looks forward as well as back: it is her conviction that cognitive science today - and tomorrow - cannot be properly understood without a historical perspective. Mind as Machine will be a rich resource for anyone working on the mind, in any academic discipline, who wants to know how our understanding of our mental activities and capacities has developed. (shrink)
John Ziman-- the much-missed-- reminds us that 'no man is an island', and takes us to task for working from an individualistic theoretical base. That 'us' includes nearly all social scientists, and most Anglo-American philosophers too. For sure, it includes cognitive scientists, who theorize people in terms of concepts drawn from cybernetics and/or artificial intelligence. (I'll use the term 'computational concepts' broadly, to cover both types.) Indeed, it's a common complaint that cognitive science is overly individualistic.
This new volume in the acclaimed Oxford Readings in Philosophy sereis offers a selection of the most important philosophical work being done in the new and fast-growing interdisciplinary area of artificial life. Artificial life research seeks to synthesize the characteristics of life by artificial means, particularly employing computer technology. The essays here explore such fascinating themes as the nature of life, the relation between life and mind, and the limits of technology.
In commemorating Piaget we should not remember his psychology alone. He hoped for a biologically grounded epistemology, which would require interdisciplinary effort. This paper mentions some recent research in biology, embryology, and philosophy that is consonant with Piaget's epistemological aims. The authors do not cite Piaget as a prime intellectual influence, there being no distinctive Piagetian methodology outside psychology. But they each mention him as someone whose work is relevant to theirs and whose interdisciplinary aims will be achieved only if (...) studies like these can be integrated in the future. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary collection of classical and contemporary readings provides a clear and comprehensive guide to the many hotly-debated philosophical issues at the heart of artificial intelligence.
What is the mind? How does it work? How does it influence behavior? Some psychologists hope to answer such questions in terms of concepts drawn from computer science and artificial intelligence. They test their theories by modeling mental processes in computers. This book shows how computer models are used to study many psychological phenomena--including vision, language, reasoning, and learning. It also shows that computer modeling involves differing theoretical approaches. Computational psychologists disagree about some basic questions. For instance, should the mind (...) be modeled by digital computers, or by parallel-processing systems more like brains? Do computer programs consist of meaningless patterns, or do they embody (and explain) genuine meaning? (shrink)
Some of the concerns people have about AI are: its misuses, effect on unemployment, and its potential for dehumanising. Contrary to what most people believe and fear, AI can lead to respect for the enormous power and complexity of the human mind. It is potentially very dangerous for users in the public domain to impute much more inferential power to computer systems, which look common-sensical, than they actually have. No matter how impressive AI programs may be, we must be aware (...) of their limitations and should not abrogate human responsibility to such programs. (shrink)
Intentionality is characteristic of many psychological phenomena. It is commonly held by philosophers that intentionality cannot be ascribed to purely physical systems. This view does not merely deny that psychological language can be reduced to physiological language. It also claims that the appropriateness of some psychological explanation excludes the possibility of any underlying physiological or causal account adequate to explain intentional behavior. This is a thesis which I do not accept. I shall argue that physical systems of a specific sort (...) will show the characteristic features of intentionality. Psychological subjects are, under an alternative description, purely physical systems of a certain sort. The intentional description and the physical description are logically distinct, and are not intertranslatable. Nevertheless, the features of intentionality may be explained by a purely causal account, in the sense that they may be shown to be totally dependent upon physical processes. (shrink)
A "MIRACLE" IS AN OBSERVABLE EVENT INEXPLICABLE BY SCIENCE BUT EXPLICABLE IN TERMS OF SOME SUPERNATURAL AGENT. UNLESS ALL TALK OF SUPERNATURAL AGENCY IS MEANINGLESS, THIS CONCEPT SUCCESSFULLY DENOTES A (PERHAPS EMPTY) CLASS. DESPITE THE FALSIFIABILITY OF SCIENCE, IT MIGHT SOMETIMES BE REASONABLE TO DENY THE POSSIBILITY OF ANY FUTURE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION OF A GIVEN EVENT. BUT THAT EVENT COULD BE CLASSIFIED AS A "MIRACLE" ONLY IF IT ACCORDED WITH CERTAIN MORAL AND THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE PARTICULAR SUPERNATURAL BEING SUPPOSED (...) ACTIVE. VARIOUS HYPOTHETICAL AGENTS MAY BE SUGGESTED; WHICH - IF ANY - OF THESE AGENTS MIGHT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EVENT CAN BE DECIDED ONLY BY A CONCEPTUAL COMPARISON OF THE POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES. THUS THE CLASSIFICATION OF AN EVENT AS A "MIRACLE" IS NOT A MATTER OF WHIM, BUT DEPENDS UPON THE PARTICULAR CONCEPT OF THE SUPERNATURAL CONCERNED. (shrink)