Society Of Mind

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 15, 1988 - Psychology - 339 pages
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Marvin Minsky -- one of the fathers of computer science and cofounder of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT -- gives a revolutionary answer to the age-old question: "How does the mind work?"
Minsky brilliantly portrays the mind as a "society" of tiny components that are themselves mindless. Mirroring his theory, Minsky boldly casts The Society of Mind as an intellectual puzzle whose pieces are assembled along the way. Each chapter -- on a self-contained page -- corresponds to a piece in the puzzle. As the pages turn, a unified theory of the mind emerges, like a mosaic. Ingenious, amusing, and easy to read, The Society of Mind is an adventure in imagination.
 

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How do you know if an elephant has been in the refrigerator? You find his footprints in the jello! With these essays quantifying elusive ideas, I found what I could describe as the signature of intelligence. It became clear to me, that the universe of which our body is made and our mind which is not the body, we find a fingerprint. Our intelligence, Minsky proposes, is really a society of unintelligent parts, recognizable as such, yet the 'way' we see that they are 'positioned' there can be said to be an 'impression' from another person, no doubt like us. That is not Minsky's proposal however that is how I used Minsky's ideas to resolve questions about ideas of super human intelligence, a concept which Minsky eludes to as being by definition beyond human intelligence. A curious notion that I found profound. We can see our universe and ourselves as the effect, the footprint of a great elephant. Our minds are the jello. It would not be intelligent except that it was intelligently setup. We have a mind made up of unintelligent parts, then to what do we attribute the phenomenon of intelligence. Does it arise super-human? As an avid student of the Bible I am compelled to consider that God is a scientific idea worthy of contemplation. The Bible is not a book written by nitwits. I have found that it offers an extraordinary complex and ample framework of ideas about God and even provides his name as Jehovah. For many the Bible alone would be called proof of God's existence and the answer to the question where did we come from and why are we here. Mainstream religion with the most incredulous explanations about the Bible designed to support their hegemonies and the thousands of years of bloodshed that they have caused have provided all the reasons I ever needed to reject the Bible-so for me this book offered to me the kind of proof that I needed to know that God exists. What caused the human mind? A mind is the effect of a mind. I now approach the Bible with a renewed enthusiasm because the Bible shows me now how to think wisely now that I got that small detail about proof of God out of the way. In the Bible I see God's wisdom in words and that proof that religion as we commonly experience is definitely not from the mind of God that caused our minds. 

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Thoughtful Book.

Contents

PROLOGUE
17
WHOLES AND PARTS
24
CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE
32
THE SELF
38
INDIVIDUALITY
47
PROBLEMS AND GOALS
70
A THEORY OF MEMORY
81
PAPERTS PRINCIPLE
98
DEVELOPMENT
173
REASONING
185
WORDS AND IDEAS
195
CONTEXT AND AMBIGUITY
206
EXPRESSION
225
COMPARISONS
237
FRAMES
243
FRAMEARRAYS
253

THE SHAPE OF SPACE
108
LEARNING MEANING
118
SEEING AND BELIEVING
132
REFORMULATION
140
CONSCIOUSNESS AND MEMORY
150
EMOTION
162
LANGUAGEFRAMES
260
CENSORS AND JOKES
273
THE MIND AND THE WORLD
282
THE REALMS OF THOUGHT
291
MENTAL MODELS
300
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About the author (1988)

Marvin Minsky is the Donner Professor of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he cofounded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and former president of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

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