Computers, Minds and Conduct / Edition 1

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This book provides a sustained and penetrating critique of a wide range of views in modern cognitive science and philosophy of the mind, from Turing's famous test for intelligence in machines to recent work in computational linguistic theory.

While discussing many of the key arguments and topics, the authors also develop a distinctive analytic approach. Drawing on the methods of conceptual analysis first elaborated by Wittgenstein and Ryle, the authors seek to show that these methods still have a great deal to offer in the field of the cognitive theory and the philosophy of mind, providing a powerful alternative to many of the positions put forward in the contemporary literature.

Amoung the many issues discussed in the book are the following: the Cartesian roots of modern conceptions of mind; Searle's 'Chinese Room' thought experiment; Fodor's 'language of thought' hypothesis; the place of 'folk psychology' in cognitivist thought; and the question of whether any machine may be said to 'think' or 'understand' in the ordinary senses of these words.

Wide ranging, up-to-date and forcefully argued, this book represents a major intervention in contemporary debates about the status of cognitive science an the nature of mind. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars in philosophy, psychology, linguistics and computing sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This is an extremely important book. It makes the best possiblecase one could for restoring Wittgenstein and Ryle to their properplaces as leading thinkers on the mind-body problem bydemonstrating the relevance of their arguments and philosophicaltechniques for some of the most hotly debated topics incontemporary cognitive science' S. G. Shanker, YorkUniversity

'The book is wonderfully clearly written, admirable in itstechnical command of the issues, and informed throughout by a deepunderstanding of the philosophical psychology of Ryle andWittgenstein.... We can only hope that this devastating critiquewill be read and digested by all those in philosophy, psychologyand cognitive science who may yet be spared the dangerous andgrandiose illusions exposed in this important book.' Rom Harre,University of Oxford and University of Georgetown

'This highly readable book advances the proposition that 'the'problem of mind and accompanying efforts at a commensurate theorybe effectively dis-solved. The authors bring both a sociologicaleye and a disciplinary agnosticism to their task, as they survey abroad terrain of related debates within philosophy, linguistics andcognitive science. Along the way, they present carefully researchedarguments to the effect that language, learning, intelligence andinteraction become scientific problems requiring theoreticalsolution only by being wrenched from the historically andculturally constituted worlds of practical human activity that giverise to and animate them. Restored to those worlds, they argue thateach of these areas evidences differences between humans andmachines that have mattered to us, and will continue to do so'Lucy Suchman, Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745615714
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/23/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham Button is a Senior Scientist at the rank XeroxResearch Centre, Cambridge.

Jeff Coulter is a Professor of Sociology at BostonUniversity, MA, USA.

John R. E. Lee is an Honorary Research and TeachingFellow at the University of Manchester.

Wes Sharrock is a Professor in Sociology at theUniversity of Manchester.

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Table of Contents


1. Philosophy, Language and Mind.

2. The Cartesian Nexus.

3. Minds, Machines and 'Folk Psychology'.

4. Connectionist Theory and Cognitive Science.

5. Can a Machine Think?.

6. Falling Short of the Programmatics: The Case of ComputationalLinguistics.

7. Can a Machine Talk?.

Conclusion: 'None of the Above.'.



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