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Hardcover | $40.00 Short | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780262133920 | 280 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 22 illus.| October 2001
 
Ebook | $28.00 Short | ISBN: 9780262252720 | 280 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 22 illus.| October 2001
 

Mind and Mechanism

Overview

In Mind and Mechanism, Drew McDermott takes a computational approach to the mind-body problem (how it is that a purely physical entity, the brain, can have experiences). He begins by demonstrating the falseness of dualist approaches, which separate the physical and mental realms. He then surveys what has been accomplished in artificial intelligence, clearly differentiating what we know how to build from what we can imagine building. McDermott then details a computational theory of consciousness claiming that the mind can be modeled entirely in terms of computation—and deals with various possible objections. He also discusses cultural consequences of the theory, including its impact on religion and ethics.

About the Author

Drew V. McDermott is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science at Yale University.

Endorsements

"The problem of explaining the functional basis of feeling is undoubtedly the hardest (some think insoluble) problem of cognitive science. Whether they succeed or fail, it is undeniable that the contributors to this volume are facing this problem head-on."—Stevan Harnad, Research Chair of Canada, and Center for Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Quebec

"In this book, Drew McDermott, one of today's shrewdest thinkers on the role of computation in cognitive capacity, tackles the problem of meaning and consciousness."—Stevan Harnad, Research Chair of Canada, and Center for Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Quebec