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)
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.
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.
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.'.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)