virus: RE:Virus:Science and Religion
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 15:19:42 -0600

Here's a few for you to balance what I consider a list that seems
overflowing with Cartesian ideas:-
Precedence: bulk

<Computers, minds and conduct>, Polity Press.

This is an excellent text which completely demolishes the Cartesian
ideas put forward by Churchland and all his other AI cronies. It
basically says that the work the neurophysiologists and neurobiologists
are doing is great - they _know_ that all they are doing is explaining
how the brain works - but that the "philosophical gloss" put on their
work by Churchland & Co. is simply unacceptable and results from
conceptual confusions about language.

They thus argue that the 'Ordinary Language Philosophy' of Wittgenstein
and Ryle (derided as 'folk psychology by Churchland et al) should be
restored to its proper place in intellectual discourse, and that a
careful examination of this work will reveal that "the" problem of mind,
as espoused by the cognitivists is really a chimera.

Thus, as well as this work, I'd recommend:-

RYLE, G. (1963) <The Concept of Mind>, Penguin, Harmondsworth.

WITTGENSTEIN, L., (1967) <Philosophical Investigations>, Third edition,
Basil Blackwell.

Another cognivist work you might like to add, one which I disagree with,
but which is easy to read is:-

JOHNSON-LAIRD, P.N., (1993) <The computer and the mind: an introduction
to cognitive science>, Fontana, London.

If the Button et al book appeals, then it's worth following up on Jeff
Coulter's work, one example of which is:-

COULTER, J., (1979) <The social construction of mind: studies in
ethnomethodology and linguistic philosophy>, Macmillan, London.

but also look at

COULTER, J., (1983) <Rethinking cognitive theory>, Macmillan, London.

Finally, I started reading Kelly the other week and it is everything
Button et al are against. The book is an exercise in rhetoric, full of
poetic but definately polemical arguments. Again, Kelly is putting an
unnecessary, unfounded and inappropriate philosophical gloss on what is
actually very good science. He does this because he completely violates
the logical grammar of language.

Oh, and another complexity book in the same mould as Kelly is M.
Mitchell Waldrop's book "Complexity: the emerging science at the edge of
chaos" (Penguin 1992).