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Speaking Minds

Speaking Minds: Interviews with Twenty Eminent Cognitive Scientists

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    Speaking Minds
    Book Description:

    Few developments in the intellectual life of the past quarter-century have provoked more controversy than the attempt to engineer human-like intelligence by artificial means. Born of computer science, this effort has sparked a continuing debate among the psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers,and linguists who have pioneered--and criticized--artificial intelligence. Are there general principles, as some computer scientists had originally hoped, that would fully describe the activity of both animal and machine minds, just as aerodynamics accounts for the flight of birds and airplanes? In the twenty substantial interviews published here, leading researchers address this and other vexing questions in the field of cognitive science.

    The interviewees include Patricia Smith Churchland (Take It Apart and See How It Runs), Paul M. Churchland (Neural Networks and Commonsense), Aaron V. Cicourel (Cognition and Cultural Belief), Daniel C. Dennett (In Defense of AI), Hubert L. Dreyfus (Cognitivism Abandoned), Jerry A. Fodor (The Folly of Simulation), John Haugeland (Farewell to GOFAI?), George Lakoff (Embodied Minds and Meanings), James L. McClelland (Toward a Pragmatic Connectionism), Allen Newell (The Serial Imperative), Stephen E. Palmer (Gestalt Psychology Redux), Hilary Putnam (Against the New Associationism), David E. Rumelhart (From Searching to Seeing), John R. Searle (Ontology Is the Question), Terrence J. Sejnowski (The Hardware Really Matters), Herbert A. Simon (Technology Is Not the Problem), Joseph Weizenbaum (The Myth of the Last Metaphor), Robert Wilensky (Why Play the Philosophy Game?), Terry A.Winograd (Computers and Social Values), and Lotfi A. Zadeh (The Albatross of Classical Logic).Speaking Mindscan complement more traditional textbooks but can also stand alone as an introduction to the field.

    Originally published in 1996.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6396-9
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-19)

    The idea for a collection of interviews with notable cognitive scientists originated as early as 1989, while we were in residence at the University of California at Berkeley, working as research scholars at the Institute of Cognitive Studies. Peter Baumgartner was preparing a book on educational philosophy dealing specifically with the background of knowledge (Baumgartner 1993), and Sabine Payr was working on her doctoral dissertation on knowledge-based machine translation (Payr 1992). So we both had already been dealing with the problems of Artificial Intelligence and cognitive science, and we shared a focus on the philosophical and social questions raised by...

  4. Take It Apart and See How It Runs
    (pp. 21-32)

    When I was a graduate student at Pittsburgh in 1966, we worked through Quine’s bookWord and Object.¹ That book was one of the few things in philosophy that made any sense to me at that time, apart, of course, from Hume. Several other graduate students whom I came to know quite well were utterly contemptuous of the later Wittgenstein in particular and of so-called ordinary language philosophy in general. Their scoffing was typically directed toward specific claims, such as the private language argument, and they generally had very good arguments to support their criticism. And apart from seeming willfully...

  5. Neural Networks and Commonsense
    (pp. 33-46)

    I would say that I have been in cognitive science my entire career, because I think a philosopher of science, someone who works on epistemology, is a cognitive scientist. For a long time, philosophers were the only cognitive scientists. Many philosophers pursued their interests in a nonempirical way, and I think that was unfortunate. But I have always been inclined to do my philosophy in a way that responds to empirical data, so I think I have been doing cognitive science for twenty years. But it is more rewarding now than it was twenty years ago, because there are so...

  6. Cognition and Cultural Belief
    (pp. 47-58)

    I first got interested in language and thought when I took my master’s degree in 1955 at UCLA, where I was introduced to the work of Edward Sapir¹ by Harry Hoijer, an anthropological linguist. In summer of 1955, I met Alfred Schutz² and extended my familiarity with his work. These contacts stimulated me to go outside of sociology.

    In the spring of 1954, I began a series of small research projects with Harold Garfinkel³ that led to a serious interest in everyday reasoning and social interaction. These activities influenced my dissertation research. My dissertation got a lot of people in...

  7. In Defense of AI
    (pp. 59-69)

    Before there was a field called cognitive science, I was involved in it when I was a graduate student at Oxford. At that time, I knew no science at all. I had had a purely humanistic education as an undergraduate. But I was very interested in the mind and in the philosophy of mind. I was completely frustrated by the work that was being done by philosophers, because they did not know anything about the brain, and they did not seem to be interested. So I decided that I had to start to learn about the brain to see what...

  8. Cognitivism Abandoned
    (pp. 71-83)

    How does a philosopher get involved in cognitive science? What is the connection between your work and cognitive science?

    Well, I got into it even before there was cognitive science, through Artificial Intelligence, because I was teaching at MIT about 1962 or 1963. Students from what was then called “Robot Project”—that is, from Minsky’s job—came and said that they had already solved or were solving the problems that philosophy was worried about, like understanding and knowing and so on. It seemed to me at the time that that was unlikely, but if they had, it was something a...

  9. The Folly of Simulation
    (pp. 85-100)

    I was trained as a philosopher at Princeton. My first academic job was at MIT, about 1960, when all the Chomsky¹ stuff was starting. There was a lot of linguistics around there, which I picked up a little. Then I spent a year visiting the University of Illinois, where I was involved in a program of Charles Osgood’s.² I had a position in a research program he was running. I talked a lot with graduate students about psychology, and so I got involved in doing some experiments. For fairly fortuitous reasons, I picked up some information about philosophy, linguistics, and...

  10. Farewell to GOFAI?
    (pp. 101-114)

    When I was in graduate school, Bert Dreyfus was one of my teachers. I first took a seminar on Artificial Intelligence offered jointly by him and Michael Scriven. They disagreed quite seriously, and I was impressed by Dreyfus’s side and got involved in helping to formulate his argument. I did not actually write on Artificial Intelligence for my dissertation, but I became interested in the topic and continued to work on it when I came to Pittsburgh.

    Then, I was member of a group at CASBS—Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences—at Stanford in 1979 that was...

  11. Embodied Minds and Meanings
    (pp. 115-129)

    Probably I should start with my earliest work and explain how I got from there to cognitive science. I was an undergraduate at MIT, where I was a student of both mathematics and English literature. There I had an opportunity to begin to learn linguistics with Roman Jakobson, Morris Halle, and Noam Chomsky.¹ I was primarily interested in working with Jakobson on the relationship between language and literature. And that is an interest that has stayed with me throughout my career. My undergraduate thesis at MIT was a literary criticism thesis, but it contained the first story grammar. It was...

  12. Toward a Pragmatic Connectionism
    (pp. 131-144)

    I started out with a fascination for my own thought processes. I found myself preoccupied with things that were getting in the way of progress. So I started reading on scientific psychology, and I slowly came to realize that I could not come up with an account of what was going on in my head. This was back in high school already.

    When I came to college, I had an excellent course from a behaviorist who convinced me that you could actually study what happened, what governed people’s behavior. I became extremely involved in this work. I went to a...

  13. The Serial Imperative
    (pp. 145-155)

    The field of computer science did not exist in the fifties. Computer science as a discipline does not show up until the early or midsixties. Before that, computers were viewed as engineering devices, put together by engineers who made calculators, where the programming was done by mathematicians who wanted to put in mathematical algorithms. Consequently, there was not really an intellectual discipline of programming. On the other hand, there clearly was the ferment of computer science in cybernetics. The postwar world was clearly in intellectual ferment. I would almost use the wordchaos, but not in the sense that it...

  14. Gestalt Psychology Redux
    (pp. 157-176)

    My training in cognitive science began as a graduate student in psychology at UC San Diego. With Donald Norman and David Rumelhart we began doing work in cognitive science before there was actually any field by that name, in that we, as psychologists, were constructing a large-scale computer model of how people understand language and retrieve information from their memories. That was in the early seventies. During that time we came to know a number of important people in computer science and Artificial Intelligence, because Don organized a series of conferences. He brought people down to talk to us. Those...

  15. Against the New Associationism
    (pp. 177-188)

    I got involved in cognitive science in two ways, because I worked for many years in mathematics as well as in philosophy. I am a recursion theorist as well as a philosopher. So the theory of Turing machines is one that I have known, as it seems to me, for all my adult life. In the late fifties I suggested a philosophical position that I named “functionalism.” It became very popular. I no longer believe in it, to the regret of many of my former students. But the idea is that the mind or the mind-brain is, basically, a computing...

  16. From Searching to Seeing
    (pp. 189-201)

    I did my graduate work in the study of memory and discovered that there were too few constraints on what we do. Around 1970 I started trying to understand long-term memory: how is knowledge stored in memory, and what is stored? One thing we knew from psychology was that mainly meaning is important. People can remember things that are meaningful and will forget things that are not. As a graduate student I worked in the area of mathematical psychology. I thought that the tools of mathematical psychology were by and large too weak. So I became a model builder: I...

  17. Ontology Is the Question
    (pp. 203-213)

    How did I get involved in cognitive science? Well, it happened over a dozen years ago. The Sloan Foundation decided to fund major research projects in the new area of cognitive science, and they asked various people in related disciplines if they would be willing to come to meetings and give lectures. I was invited, and I accepted. That way I met a lot of other people, and I was asked to participate in the formation of a cognitive science group in Berkeley. It is one of those things where outside funding actually makes a difference to your life. The...

  18. The Hardware Really Matters
    (pp. 215-230)

    Cognitive science came late in my career. It represents a synthesis of many of my other interests. The essential question for me has always been how the brain works. In the process of trying to understand how the brain works, I have come to appreciate the complexity not only of the structure of the brain but also of its cognitive abilities. My feeling now is that the study of the brain is going to require collaboration between at least two major areas of science—the cognitive sciences on the one hand and the neurosciences on the other hand—to make...

  19. Technology Is Not the Problem
    (pp. 231-248)

    My original area is organization and management. I approached organization and management from the standpoint of decision making. I had training in economics and understood the economist’s model of decision making. But that seemed to me very far from what was going on in organizations. So I tried to develop alternative theories, theories that I generally label by “bounded rationality.” This is the view that people are not as rational as economists think. That led me into trying to understand human problem solving, because it is part of what is involved in decision making. This research started back in 1939...

  20. The Myth of the Last Metaphor
    (pp. 249-264)

    I was introduced to computers in the early fifties, at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) in Detroit. A mathematics professor there decided to build a computer for the university. So we did build one. I was a graduate student then. We had to do everything: soldering, all the logic design, and the assembler language. That is how I began with computers.

    After a long while, I participated in the design of a computer system for the Bank of America. That was in the late fifties and early sixties. The actual site of the work was Palo Alto, California, because...

  21. Why Play the Philosophy Game?
    (pp. 265-282)

    When I was a graduate student, I became interested in Artificial Intelligence and cognitive science. From my point of view, there is not really a difference between cognitive science and Artificial Intelligence. So for me, becoming interested in Artificial Intelligence was in fact becoming interested in cognitive science.

    Could you explain why there is no difference? What is Artificial Intelligence, and what is cognitive science?

    It is not that there is no difference. It is that one discipline, in a sense, includes the other. Both Artificial Intelligence and cognitive science today—some of my colleagues may disagree with me—take...

  22. Computers and Social Values
    (pp. 283-299)

    Things for me began in college, with an interest in computers and language. In the very beginning, those were the two things that interested me. I actually spent a year studying linguistics in London before I went to MIT and got involved in computer science. So I came into my study of computing with an interest in combining language and computers. Then I found out that the work on Artificial Intelligence at MIT seemed to be an obvious match. I did my dissertation work at MIT, then I was on the faculty there for three years before coming here (to...

  23. The Albatross of Classical Logic
    (pp. 301-312)

    I have always been interested in the issue of machine thinking. Let me show you something that I wrote in a student magazine published at Columbia University,Thinking MachinesA New Field of Electrical Engineering. Here are some of the headlines: “Psychologists Report Memory Is Electrical,” “Electronic Brain Able to Translate Foreign Languages is Being Built,” “Electronic Brain Does Research," “Scientists Confirm on Electronic Brain.” Behind these headlines are the questions: How will electronic brains or thinking machines work and affect our living? What is the role played by electrical engineers in the design of these devices? These are some...

    (pp. 313-324)
    (pp. 325-336)
  26. INDEX
    (pp. 337-342)