Mind and Mechanism
Drew V. McDermott is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science at Yale University.
An exploration of the mind-body problem from the perspective of artificial intelligence.
In Mind and Mechanism, Drew McDermott takes a computational approach to the mind-body problem (how it is that a purely physical entity, the brain, can have experiences). He begins by demonstrating the falseness of dualist approaches, which separate the physical and mental realms. He then surveys what has been accomplished in artificial intelligence, clearly differentiating what we know how to build from what we can imagine building. McDermott then details a computational theory of consciousness claiming that the mind can be modeled entirely in terms of computation—and deals with various possible objections. He also discusses cultural consequences of the theory, including its impact on religion and ethics.
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