[Humanist] 23.443 inaccessible ideas & thinkable thoughts

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Nov 18 07:30:55 CET 2009


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 443.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 11:28:14 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: inaccessible ideas and thinkable thoughts

I wonder if anyone here is familiar with Thinking Machines: The 
Evolution of Artificial Intelligence (Blackwell, 1987), by the British 
philosopher Vernon Pratt (Cardiff, then Lancaster). It seems to me to do 
an extraordinarily fine job historiographically in dealing with ideas we 
can barely if at all understand because the wherewithal to think them is 
gone, e.g. the medieval idea of "form", and with the complex 
interrelations between technological ideas and things which cannot 
rightly be understood if we treat them as milestones on the same path. 
This book is also valuable for his analysis of ideas in the history of 
artificial intelligence that made others thinkable. In addition he wrote 
The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (Methuen, 1978), with a fine 
chapter on "Man as a machine". Does anyone here know about this fellow?

Yours,
WM
-- 
Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.





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