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What Is Thought?
     

What Is Thought?

by Eric B. Baum
 

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Toward a computational explanation of thought: an argument that underlying mind is a complex but compact program that corresponds to the underlying complex structure of the world.

Overview

Toward a computational explanation of thought: an argument that underlying mind is a complex but compact program that corresponds to the underlying complex structure of the world.

Editorial Reviews

Nature - Igor Aleksander
... [Should] engage general readers who wish to enjoy a clear, understandable description of many advanced principles of computer science.

Science - Gary Marcus
A book that is admirable as much for its candor as its ambition.... If What is Thought? can inspire a new generation of computer scientists to inquire anew about the nature of thought, it will be a valuable contribution indeed.

From the Publisher
"...[Should] engage general readers who wish to enjoy a clear, understandable description of many advanced principles of computer science." Igor Aleksander Nature

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262025485
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
01/01/2004
Series:
Bradford Books Series
Pages:
492
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

David Waltz
Eric Baum's book is a remarkable achievement. He presents a novel thesis — that the mind is a program whose components are semantically meaningful modules — and explores it with a rich array of evidence drawn from a variety of fields. Baum's argument depends on much of the intellectual core of computer science, and as a result the book can also serve as a short course in computer science for non-specialists. To top it off, What is Thought? is beautifully written and will be at least as clear and accessible to the intelligent lay public as Scientific American.

Gilbert Harman
In his enjoyable and informative book The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce distinguishes between explaining how natural selection might explain socially useful behavior in animals and what more is needed to explain morality, with its thoughts about right or wrong, in human beings. Contrary to what others have said, Joyce argues plausibly that, to the extent that our moral concepts and opinions are the results of natural selection, there is no rational basis for these concepts and opinions.

From the Publisher
"Eric Baum's book is a remarkable achievement. He presents a novel thesis — that the mind is a program whose components are semantically meaningful modules — and explores it with a rich array of evidence drawn from a variety of fields. Baum's argument depends on much of the intellectual core of computer science, and as a result the book can also serve as a short course in computer science for non-specialists. To top it off, *What is Thought?* is beautifully written and will be at least as clear and accessible to the intelligent lay public as *ScientificAmerican*."—David Waltz, Director, Center for Computational Learning Systems, ColumbiaUniversity

"In his enjoyable and informative book *The Evolution of Morality*, Richard Joyce distinguishes between explaining how natural selection might explain socially useful behavior in animals and what more is needed to explain morality, with its thoughts about right or wrong, in human beings. Contrary to what others have said, Joyce argues plausibly that, to the extent that our moral concepts and opinions are the results of natural selection, there is no rational basis for these concepts and opinions."—Gilbert Harman, Department of Philosophy, PrincetonUniversity

Nathan Myhrvold
There is no problem more important, or more daunting, than discovering the structure and processes behind human thought. What is Thought? is an important step towards finding the answer. A concise summary of the progress and pitfalls to date gives the reader the context necessary to appreciate Baum's important insights into the nature of cognition.

Meet the Author

Eric B. Baum has held positions at the University of California at Berkeley, Caltech, MIT, Princeton, and the NEC Research Institute. He is currently developing algorithms based on Machine Learning and Bayesian Reasoning to found a hedge fund.

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