Disclosing New Worlds calls for a recovery of a way of being that has always characterized human life at its best. The book argues that human beings are at their best not when they are engaged in abstract reflection, but when they are intensely involved in changing the taken-for-granted, everyday practices in some domain of their culture—that is, when they are making history. History-making, in this account, refers not to wars and transfers of political power, but to changes in the way we understand and deal with ourselves.
When it was first published in 1972, Hubert Dreyfus's manifesto on the inherent inability of disembodied machines to mimic higher mental functions caused an uproar in the artificial intelligence community. The world has changed since then. Today it is clear that "good old-fashioned AI," based on the idea of using symbolic representations to produce general intelligence, is in decline (although several believers still pursue its pot of gold), and the focus of the Al community has shifted to more complex models of the mind.
Being-in-the-World is a guide to one of the most influential philosophical works of this century: Division I of Part One of Being and Time, where Martin Heidegger works out an original and powerful account of being-in-the-world which he then uses to ground a profound critique of traditional ontology and epistemology. Hubert Dreyfus's commentary opens the way for a new appreciation of this difficult philosopher, revealing a rigorous and illuminating vocabulary that is indispensable for talking about the phenomenon of world.