The conceptual history of cognitive science remains for the most part unwritten. In this groundbreaking book, Jean-Pierre Dupuy—one of the principal architects of cognitive science in France—provides an important chapter: the legacy of cybernetics. Contrary to popular belief, Dupuy argues, cybernetics represented not the anthropomorphization of the machine but the mechanization of the human.
Constraint logic programming, the notion of computing with partial information, is becoming recognized as a way of dramatically improving on the current generation of programming languages. This collection presents the best of current work on all aspects of constraint logic programming languages, from theory through language implementation.
Building a person has been an elusive goal in artificial intelligence. This failure, John Pollock argues, is because the problems involved are essentially philosophical; what is needed for the construction of a person is a physical system that mimics human rationality. Pollock describes an exciting theory of rationality and its partial implementation in OSCAR, a computer system whose descendants will literally be persons.
With mind-brain identity theories no longer dominant in philosophy of mind in the late 1950s, scientific materialists turned to functionalism, the view that the identity of any mental state depends on its function in the cognitive system of which it is a part. The philosopher Hilary Putnam was one of the primary architects of functionalism and was the first to propose computational functionalism, which views the human mind as a computer or an information processor.
The annual Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference is the flagship meeting on neural computation. It draws a diverse group of attendees—physicists, neuroscientists, mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists. The presentations are interdisciplinary, with contributions in algorithms, learning theory, cognitive science, neuroscience, brain imaging, vision, speech and signal processing, reinforcement learning and control, emerging technologies, and applications.
In What Is Thought? Eric Baum proposes a computational explanation of thought. Just as Erwin Schrodinger in his classic 1944 work What Is Life? argued ten years before the discovery of DNA that life must be explainable at a fundamental level by physics and chemistry, Baum contends that the present-day inability of computer science to explain thought and meaning is no reason to doubt there can be such an explanation.
Gaussian processes (GPs) provide a principled, practical, probabilistic approach to learning in kernel machines. GPs have received increased attention in the machine-learning community over the past decade, and this book provides a long-needed systematic and unified treatment of theoretical and practical aspects of GPs in machine learning.
Within cognitive science, two approaches currently dominate the problem of modeling representations. The symbolic approach views cognition as computation involving symbolic manipulation. Connectionism, a special case of associationism, models associations using artificial neuron networks. Peter Gardenfors offers his theory of conceptual representations as a bridge between the symbolic and connectionist approaches.
Reasoning about knowledge—particularly the knowledge of agents who reason about the world and each other's knowledge—was once the exclusive province of philosophers and puzzle solvers. More recently, this type of reasoning has been shown to play a key role in a surprising number of contexts, from understanding conversations to the analysis of distributed computer algorithms.
Classical computationalism—the view that mental states are computational states—has come under attack in recent years. Critics claim that in defining computation solely in abstract, syntactic terms, computationalism neglects the real-time, embodied, real-world constraints with which cognitive systems must cope. Instead of abandoning computationalism altogether, however, some researchers are reconsidering it, recognizing that real-world computers, like minds, must deal with issues of embodiment, interaction, physical implementation, and semantics.