Minds and Computers: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence

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Edinburgh University Press, 2007 - Philosophy - 222 pages
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Could a computer have a mind? What kind of machine would this be? Exactly what do we mean by ‘mind’ anyway?The notion of the ‘intelligent’ machine, whilst continuing to feature in numerous entertaining and frightening fictions, has also been the focus of a serious and dedicated research tradition. Reflecting on these fictions, and on the research tradition that pursues ‘Artificial Intelligence’, raises a number of vexing philosophical issues. Minds and Computers introduces readers to these issues by offering an engaging, coherent, and highly approachable interdisciplinary introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence. Readers are presented with introductory material from each of the disciplines which constitute Cognitive Science: Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, Computer Science, and Linguistics. Throughout, readers are encouraged to consider the implications of this disparate and wide-ranging material for the possibility of developing machines with minds. And they can expect to develop a foundation for philosophically responsible engagement with A.I., a sound understanding of Philosophy of Mind and of computational theory, and a good feel for cross-disciplinary analysis.Features:*A solid foundation in the Philosophy of Mind*A broadly interdisciplinary purview*A directed philosophical focus*A clear and accessible explanation of technical material with abundant exercises*A glossary of terms

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This book is a basic introduction to AI as a philosophical theory of mind. It covers cognitive science topics on the human mind, computation, reasoning, language and philosophical considerations. For example, humans recognize repetitive sensory patterns and dedicate response structures to them; embodied experience is a basis for semantics. Each chapter indicates theory and objections. The style is mildly technical and philosophical. History of the field is broadly sketched and problems are not really delved into, e.g. consciousness, identity and emotions are briefly summarized in a chapter at the end. It does get into some detail about functional neuroanatomy and neural networks. There are twenty chapters, occasional exercises, some of which are labeled “challenge”, further readings, glossary, and index.
Further advanced conclusions are out of the scope of this text, e.g. by Minsky, Kurzweil, Hawkins or Wolfram on computation,.or NoŽ on consciousness. It does not discuss biological reuse for robotics, e.g. as has been demonstrated using animal brains, or cloning for this purpose. Trends such as functional brain emulation models from scopes and visualization, quantum mechanics and computation, or synthetic life would need additional sources.

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About the author (2007)

Matt Carter is a Fellow of the Philosophy Department at Melbourne University.

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