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Philosophy of Mind

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Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems, and Adaptation

"Simulation," writes Gary Flake in his preface, "becomes a form of experimentation in a universe of theories. The primary purpose of this book is to celebrate this fact."In this book, Gary William Flake develops in depth the simple idea that recurrent rules can produce rich and complicated behaviors. Distinguishing "agents" (e.g., molecules, cells, animals, and species) from their interactions (e.g., chemical reactions, immune system responses, sexual reproduction, and evolution), Flake argues that it is the computational properties of interactions that account for much of what we think of as "beautiful" and "interesting." From this basic thesis, Flake explores what he considers to be today's four most interesting computational topics: fractals, chaos, complex systems, and adaptation.

Each of the book's parts can be read independently, enabling even the casual reader to understand and work with the basic equations and programs. Yet the parts are bound together by the theme of the computer as a laboratory and a metaphor for understanding the universe. The inspired reader will experiment further with the ideas presented to create fractal landscapes, chaotic systems, artificial life forms, genetic algorithms, and artificial neural networks.

Introductory Selections on Cognitive Science
Edited by Paul Thagard

Mind Readings is a collection of accessible readings on some of the most important topics in cognitive science. Although anyone interested in the interdisciplinary study of mind will find the selections well worth reading, they work particularly well with Paul Thagard's textbook Mind: An Introduction Cognitive Science, and provide further discussion on the major topics discussed in that book. The first eight chapters present approaches to cognitive science from the perspective that thinking consists of computational procedures on mental representations. The remaining five chapters discuss challenges to the computational-representational understanding of mind.

Contributors: John R. Anderson, Ruth M. J. Byrne, E. H. Durfee, Chris Eliasmith, Owen Flanagan, Dedre Gentner, Janice Glasgow, Philip N. Johnson-Laird, Alan Mackworth, Arthur B. Markman, Douglas L. Medin, Keith Oatley, Dimitri Papadias, Steven Pinker, David E. Rumelhart, Herbert A. Simon.


How can the baffling problems of phenomenal experience be accounted for? In this provocative book, Fred Dretske argues that to achieve an understanding of the mind it is not enough to understand the biological machinery by means of which the mind does its job. One must understand what the mind's job is and how this task can be performed by a physical system—the nervous system.

Naturalizing the Mind skillfully develops a representational theory of the qualitative, the phenomenal, the what-it-is-like aspects of the mind that have defied traditional forms of naturalism. Central to Dretske's approach is the claim that the phenomenal aspects of perceptual experiences are one and the same as external, real-world properties that experience represents objects as having. Combined with an evolutionary account of sensory representation, the result is a completely naturalistic account of phenomenal consciousness.

Philosophy, Psychology, and Artificial Intelligence
Edited by John Haugeland

Mind design is the endeavor to understand mind (thinking, intellect) in terms of its design (how it is built, how it works). Unlike traditional empirical psychology, it is more oriented toward the "how" than the "what." An experiment in mind design is more likely to be an attempt to build something and make it work—as in artificial intelligence—than to observe or analyze what already exists. Mind design is psychology by reverse engineering.

When Mind Design was first published in 1981, it became a classic in the then-nascent fields of cognitive science and AI. This second edition retains four landmark essays from the first, adding to them one earlier milestone (Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence") and eleven more recent articles about connectionism, dynamical systems, and symbolic versus nonsymbolic models. The contributors are divided about evenly between philosophers and scientists. Yet all are "philosophical" in that they address fundamental issues and concepts; and all are "scientific" in that they are technically sophisticated and concerned with concrete empirical research.

Contributors: Rodney A. Brooks, Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Daniel C. Dennett, Hubert L. Dreyfus, Jerry A. Fodor, Joseph Garon, John Haugeland, Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, Zenon W. Pylyshyn, William Ramsey, Jay F. Rosenberg, David E. Rumelhart, John R. Searle, Herbert A. Simon, Paul Smolensky, Stephen Stich, A. M. Turing, Timothy van Gelder

An Introduction to Philosophical Issues and Achievements

Thinking Things Through provides a broad, historical, and rigorous introduction to the logical tradition in philosophy and to its contemporary significance. The book centers around three of the most fruitful issues in Western thought: What are proofs and why do they provide knowledge? How can experience be used to gain knowledge or to alter beliefs in a rational way? What is the nature of mind and of mental events and mental states? In a clear and lively style, Glymour describes these key philosophical problems and traces attempts at solutions from ancient Greece to the present.

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Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: teaching manual

This collection of 24 readings is the first comprehensive treatment of important topics by leading figures in the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of animal cognition. Taken together the essays provide the nucleus for an introductory course in animal cognition (cognitive ethology and comparative psychology), philosophy of biology, or philosophy of mind.

Selections are grouped in five sections: Perspectives on Animal Cognition; Cognitive and Evolutionary Explanations; Recognition, Choice, Vigilance, and Play; Communication and Language; and Animal Minds. Seventeen essays are reprinted from the authors much cited two-volume collection, Interpretation and Explanation in the Study of Animal Behavior. One essay taken from that book has been subsequently revised, and five additional essays are recent examples of critical thinking in cognitive ethology. The preface and final chapter, "Ethics and the Study of Animal Cognition," are new.

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Recent decades have produced a blossoming of research in artificial systems that exhibit important properties of mind. But what exactly is this dramatic new work and how does it change the way we think about the mind, or even about who or what has mind?

Stan Franklin is the perfect tour guide through the contemporary interdisciplinary matrix of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, artificial neural networks, artificial life, and robotics that is producing a new paradigm of mind. Leisurely and informal, but always informed, his tour touches on all of the major facets of mechanisms of mind.

Along the way, Franklin makes the case for a perspective that rejects a rigid distinction between mind and non-mind in favor of a continuum from less to more mind, and for the role of mind as a control structure with the essential task of choosing the next action. Selected stops include the best of the work in these different fields, with the key concepts and results explained in just enough detail to allow readers to decide for themselves why the work is significant.

Major attractions include animal minds, Allan Newell's SOAR, the three Artificial Intelligence debates, John Holland's genetic algorithms, Wilson's Animat, Brooks' subsumption architecture, Jackson's pandemonium theory, Ornstein's multimind, Marvin Minsky's society of mind, Pattie Maes's behavior networks, Gerald Edelman's neural Darwinism, Drescher's schema mechanisms, Pentti Kanerva's sparse distributed memory, Douglas Hofstadter and Melanie Mitchell's Copycat, and Agre and Chapman's deictic representations.

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A Critical Introduction

Theories of Truth tackles one of the most difficult areas in philosophy. It surveys all of the major theories of truth, presenting the crux of the issues involved at a level accessible to nonexperts yet in a manner sufficiently detailed and original to be of value to professional scholars. Included are discussions of such theories as the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, semantic, performative, redundancy, appraisal, and truth-as-justification theories. Also covered are the liar paardox, three-valued logic, Field's critique of Tarski, satisfaction, and recursion, as well as how the theories of justification, properly understood, differ from theories of truth.

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An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind

In Mindblindness, Simon Baron-Cohen presents a model of the evolution and development of "mindreading." He argues that we mindread all the time, effortlessly, automatically, and mostly unconsciously. It is the natural way in which we interpret, predict, and participate in social behavior and communication. We ascribe mental states to people: states such as thoughts, desires, knowledge, and intentions.

Building on many years of research, Baron-Cohen concludes that children with autism, suffer from "mindblindness" as a result of a selective impairment in mindreading. For these children, the world is essentially devoid of mental things.

Baron-Cohen develops a theory that draws on data from comparative psychology, from developmental, and from neuropsychology. He argues that specific neurocognitive mechanisms have evolved that allow us to mindread, to make sense of actions, to interpret gazes as meaningful, and to decode "the language of the eyes."

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Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change series

Consciousness is neither miraculous nor ultimately mysterious. In this broad, entertaining, and persuasive account Owen Flanagan argues that we are on the way to understanding consciousness and its place in the natural order. No aspect of consciousness escapes Flanagan's probe. Qualia, self-consciousness, autobiographical memory, perceptions, sensations, the stream of consciousness, disorders such as blindsight, various kinds of amnesia, and multiple personality all find a place in a constructive theory that brings into reflective equilibrium insights from a wide array of disciplines to reveal the deep, rich, and complex hidden structure of consciousness.

Flanagan roams freely through a variety of scientific and philosophical domains, showing how it is possible to understand human consciousness in a way that gives its subjective, phenomenal aspects their full due while at the same time taking into account the neural bases of subjectivity. The result is a powerful synthetic theory of consciousness, a "constructive naturalism," according to which subjective consciousness is real, plays an important causal role, and resides in the brain.

Flanagan draws the reader into a world of exciting current debates among such philosophers as Thomas Nagel, Daniel Dennett, Paul Churchland, Patricia Churchland, and Colin McGinn, and he makes this world accessible. He masterfully weaves the latest insights from theory and research in cognitive neuroscience, neural darwinism, connectionist brain architecture, and PET scanners to reveal clear links between events that "seem a certain way" and underlying neural activity. William James's famous phenomenological analysis of consciousness and neurologically impaired characters from the writings of Oliver Sacks and A.R. Luria join the narrative, providing valuable insights into important current controversies on the relation of consciousness to self.

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