[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
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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?
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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