Philosophy and Computer Science (Bureaucarcies, Pulbic Administration, and Public Policy)
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Colburn (computer science, U. of Minnesota-Duluth) has a doctorate in philosophy and an advanced degree in computer science; he's worked as a philosophy professor, a computer programmer, and a research scientist in artificial intelligence. Here he discusses the philosophical foundations of artificial intelligence; the new encounter of science and philosophy (logic, models of the mind and of reasoning, epistemology); and the philosophy of computer science (touching on math, abstraction, software, and ontology).
would cause some twentieth-century philosophers AI AND THE RISE OF SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY 47 to regard the problem as intractable. So at the same time that science was making headway in understanding the brain, some philosophers began to seriously doubt that the so-called problem of mind and body was even being correctly posed. Ayer, Logical Positivism, and the Identity Theory In the 1920s, a movement that would become known as logical positivism began in Europe. Seeking the same sort of
motion of mechanical parts. In 1938, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research assistant named Claude Shannon had the inspired idea to exploit Boolean algebra and replace the cogs and gears of calculators with electromechanical relays, or switches which could be either on or off (1 or 0). While calculators made of electromechanical relays were shown to be many times faster than human beings, they still relied on and were therefore limited by the mechanical motion of the relays. The
parsimony in another way. A functionalist theory of the mind which presupposes an inner language of thought in addition to the ordinary language of human communication, might be thought of as multiplying entities despite its antidualist stance. A parallel complaint can be lodged against a materialistic theory of perception. In such a theory my experience of a red statue, say, is identiﬁed with an appropriate brain event that has as its initial cause light reﬂecting from the statue. But the causal
strictly deﬁned properties and the strictly deﬁned items of the model,” and (2) the model building insight, or ﬁnding _a way of “combining the available model building elements so as to arrive at a model having appropriate properties.”3” With regard to software, the major issues are therefore the designing and the building of programs, and the fundamental problems here are not solved by adherence to a formalism. The relationship of a perhaps formally stated design speciﬁcation and a program,
implement the necessary underlying data structures or how to manage memory; the built-in lists and symbols along with the Lisp run-time system are sufficient for modeling the information with which the programmer is most concerned. The capabilities of Lisp did not come without a price. In its early days Lisp was maligned for being slow, and its memory requirements were beyond what many programmers could afford. But this was not surprising given theamount of work Lisp had to do to provide the