How the Body Shapes the Way We Think
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How the Body Shapes the Way We Think

A New View of Intelligence

By Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard

An exploration of embodied intelligence and its implications points toward a theory of intelligence in general; with case studies of intelligent systems in ubiquitous computing, business and management, human memory, and robotics.

A Bradford Book

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Summary

An exploration of embodied intelligence and its implications points toward a theory of intelligence in general; with case studies of intelligent systems in ubiquitous computing, business and management, human memory, and robotics.

How could the body influence our thinking when it seems obvious that the brain controls the body? In How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard demonstrate that thought is not independent of the body but is tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled, by it. They argue that the kinds of thoughts we are capable of have their foundation in our embodiment—in our morphology and the material properties of our bodies.

This crucial notion of embodiment underlies fundamental changes in the field of artificial intelligence over the past two decades, and Pfeifer and Bongard use the basic methodology of artificial intelligence—"understanding by building"—to describe their insights. If we understand how to design and build intelligent systems, they reason, we will better understand intelligence in general. In accessible, nontechnical language, and using many examples, they introduce the basic concepts by building on recent developments in robotics, biology, neuroscience, and psychology to outline a possible theory of intelligence. They illustrate applications of such a theory in ubiquitous computing, business and management, and the psychology of human memory. Embodied intelligence, as described by Pfeifer and Bongard, has important implications for our understanding of both natural and artificial intelligence.

Hardcover

$53.00 S | £41.00 ISBN: 9780262162395 424 pp. | 9 in x 6 in 26 illus.

Endorsements

  • After shedding a harsh new light on the Cartesian flaws at the heart of much of mainstream cognitive science, Wheeler carefully and persuasively builds a case for an alternative Heideggerian approach, grounding his arguments in current empirical work in AI. Superbly written with great clarity and energy (not to mention scholarship), this is a very important book for all serious students of cognitive science and its constituent disciplines—from AI to philosophy of mind.

    Phil Husbands

    Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of Sussex