How is it possible to think new thoughts? What is creativity and can science explain it? And just how did Coleridge dream up the creatures of The Ancient Mariner? When The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms was first published, Margaret A. Boden's bold and provocative exploration of creativity broke new ground. Boden uses examples such as jazz improvisation, chess, story writing, physics, and the music of Mozart, together with computing models from the field of artificial intelligence to uncover the nature (...) of human creativity in the arts. The second edition of The Creative Mind has been updated to include recent developments in artificial intelligence, with a new preface, introduction and conclusion by the author. It is an essential work for anyone interested in the creativity of the human mind. (shrink)
Cognitive science is the project of understanding the mind by modelling its workings. Its development is one of the most remarkable and fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. Mind as Machine is a masterful history of cognitive science, told by one of its most eminent practitioners.
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)
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.
The applications of Artificial Intelligence lie all around us; in our homes, schools and offices, in our cinemas, in art galleries and - not least - on the Internet. The results of Artificial Intelligence have been invaluable to biologists, psychologists, and linguists in helping to understand the processes of memory, learning, and language from a fresh angle.As a concept, Artificial Intelligence has fuelled and sharpened the philosophical debates concerning the nature of the mind, intelligence, and the uniqueness of human beings. (...) Margaret A. Boden reviews the philosophical and technological challenges raised by Artificial Intelligence, considering whether programs could ever be really intelligent, creative or even conscious, and shows how the pursuit of Artificial Intelligence has helped us to appreciate how human and animal minds are possible. (shrink)
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.
Margaret Boden presents a series of essays in which she explores the nature of creativity in a wide range of art forms. Creativity is the generation of novel, surprising, and valuable ideas. Boden identifies three forms of creativity each eliciting a different form of surprise.
The optimist may be secretly envied, but he is publicly despised. His pronouncements are regarded as expressions of simple-minded blindness or as cynical propaganda. Optimism is not regarded as intellectually respectable. It was not always so: there have been times when optimism was not merely considered worthy of rational argument, but was widely accepted by thinking men. Now, however, we react with a growing embarrassment to passages such as these: The time will therefore come when the sun will shine only (...) on free men who know no other master but their reason;… All the causes that contribute to the perfection of the human race, all the means that ensure it must by their very nature exercise a perpetual influence and always increase their sphere of action … the perfectibility of man is indefinite. (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)
What is creativity? One new idea may be creative, whereas another is merely new: What's the difference? And how is creativity possible? These questions about human creativity can be answered, at least in outline, using computational concepts. There are two broad types of creativity, improbabilist and impossibilist. Improbabilist creativity involves novel combinations of familiar ideas. A deeper type involves METCS: the mapping, exploration, and transformation of conceptual spaces. It is impossibilist, in that ideas may be generated which – with respect (...) to the particular conceptual space concerned – could not have been generated before. The more clearly conceptual spaces can be defined, the better we can identify creative ideas. Defining conceptual spaces is done by musicologists, literary critics, and historians of art and science. Humanist studies, rich in intuitive subtleties, can be complemented by the comparative rigour of a computational approach. Computational modelling can help to define a space, and to show how it may be mapped, explored, and transformed. Impossibilist creativity can be thought of in “classical” Al terms, whereas connectionism illuminates improbabilist creativity. Most Al models of creativity can only explore spaces, not transform them, because they have no self-reflexive maps enabling them to change their own rules. A few, however, can do so. A scientific understanding of creativity does not destroy our wonder at it, nor does it make creative ideas predictable. Demystification does not imply dehumanization. (shrink)
Ever since Darwin, scholars have noted that cultural entities such as languages, laws and theories seem to evolve through variation, selection and replication. These essays consider whether this comparison is just a metaphor.
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)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better if we were immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Life, Death, and Meaning brings together key readings, primarily by English-speaking philosophers, on such 'big questions.'.
Wonder is a root of the religious experience, and the desire to understand drives science. If wonder and understanding are fundamentally opposed, religion and science will be also. But only if wonder is limited to the contemplation of magic or mysteries is religion in principle opposed to science. The aim of science is to explain how something is possible. Understanding how something is possible need not destroy our wonder at it. Recent scientific theories of the human mind—albeit based in computer (...) technology—increase our wonder at its richness and power. (shrink)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses.
Some readers may have seen the re-runs, on BBC-TV recently, of the ‘Face to Face’ interviews done by John Freeman in the 1960s. One of these was with the singer Adam Faith, then a startlingly beautiful young man with the grace to be amazed at being chosen to be sandwiched between Martin Luther King and J. K. Galbraith. The re-runs were accompanied, where possible, with a further interview with the same person. What I found almost as startling as his lost (...) beauty was Faith's referring to himself-when-young in the third person. After watching the rerun interview, the now middle-aged man commented to Freeman, on several occasions, that ‘He said such-and-such’, ‘He told you so-and-so’, and the like. (shrink)
The truth can be dangerous. It is because they realise this that the Roman Catholic Church forbid cremation. Cremation is, of course, theologically permissible, and in times of epidemic the Church allows it. But in normal times it is forbidden — Why? The reason is that the Church fears the influence of the image associated with it. It is difficult enough for the faithful to accept the notion of bodily resurrection after having seen a burial. But the image of the (...) whole body being consumed by flames and changing within a few minutes to a heap of ashes is an even more powerful apparent contradiction of the theological claim of bodily resurrection at the Day of Judgement. In short, instead of relying only on abstract theological argument, which very likely would not convince their flock in any case, the Church deals with this threat to faith by attacking the concrete image. (shrink)