Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science

Hardcover | June 15, 2006

byMargaret Boden

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Cognitive science is among the most fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. The quest to understand the mind is an ancient one. But modern science has offered new insights and techniques that have revolutionized this enquiry. Oxford University Press now presents a masterlyhistory of the field, told by one of its most eminent practitioners. Psychology is the thematic heart of cognitive science, which aims to understand human (and animal) minds. But its core theoretical ideas are drawn from cybernetics and artificial intelligence, and many cognitive scientists try to build functioning models of how the mind works. In that sense,Margaret Boden suggests, its key insight is that mind is a (very special) machine. Because the mind has many different aspects, the field is highly interdisciplinary. It integrates psychology not only with cybernetics/AI, but also with neuroscience and clinical neurology; with the philosophy ofmind, language, and logic; with linguistic work on grammar, semantics, and communication; with anthropological studies of cultures; and with biological (and A-Life) research on animal behaviour, evolution, and life itself. Each of these disciplines, in its own way, asks what the mind is, what itdoes, how it works, how it develops---and how it is even possible. Boden traces the key questions back to Descartes's revolutionary writings, and to the ideas of his followers--and his radical critics--through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her story shows how controversies in the development of experimental physiology, neurophysiology, psychology,evolutionary biology, embryology, and logic are still relevant today. Then she guides the reader through the complex interlinked paths along which the study of mind developed in the twentieth century. Cognitive science covers all mental phenomena: not just 'cognition' (knowledge), but also emotion,personality, psychopathology, social communication, religion, motor action, and consciousness. In each area, Boden introduces the key ideas and researchers and discusses those philosophical critics who see cognitive science as fundamentally misguided. And she sketches the waves of resistance andacceptance on the part of the media and general public, showing how these have affected the development of the field. No one else could tell this story as Boden can: she has been a member of the cognitive science community since the late-1950s, and has known many of its key figures personally. Her narrative is written in a lively, swift-moving style, enriched by the personal touch of someone who knows the story atfirst hand. Her history looks forward as well as back: besides asking how state-of-the-art research compares with the hopes of the early pioneers, she identifies the most promising current work. Mind as Machine will be a rich resource for anyone working on the mind, in any academic discipline, whowants to know how our understanding of mental capacities has advanced over the years.

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Cognitive science is among the most fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. The quest to understand the mind is an ancient one. But modern science has offered new insights and techniques that have revolutionized this enquiry. Oxford University Press now presents a masterlyhistory of the field, told by one of its most e...

Margaret Boden is at University of Sussex.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:1712 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 5.07 inPublished:June 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199241449

ISBN - 13:9780199241446

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Table of Contents

1. Setting the scene2. Man as machine: origins of the idea3. Anticipatory engines4. Maybe minds are machines too5. Movements beneath the mantle6. Cognitive science comes together7. The rise of computational psychology8. The mystery of the missing discipline9. Transforming linguistics10. When GOFAI was NEWFAI11. Of bombs and bombshells12. Connectionism, its birth and renaissance13. Swimming alongside the kraken14. From neurophysiology to computational neuroscience15. A-life in embryo16. Philosophies of mind as machine17. What next?

Editorial Reviews

"This is, as far as I know, the first full-scale history of cognitive science.... I doubt that many, or in fact any, readers will have the detailed firsthand knowledge that Boden has of so much of cognitive science. Future histories of the subject will have to build on this one."--Gilbert Harmann, Scientific American "A beautifully written book, not just for specialists but for anyone interested in the questions of mind and its workings."--CHOICE "A triumphant literary event among histories of cognitive science"--Igor Aleksander, Journal of Consciousness Studies "A monumental new history of cognitive science--scholarly, readable, and even entertaining--an invaluable resource. At present it has no rival, and it is hard to imagine any other work that could so completely document the intellectual ferment of the past fifty years."--Michael C. Corballis, Times Literary Supplement