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What Computers Still Can't Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason
Author: Dreyfus, Hubert L.
Section: Computers
Owner: jrc (Rating: 1)
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Status: Available [Check Out]
Owner Review: From Amazon:

"Mr. Shallit compares the critique of cognitive science by Professor Dreyfus to 'creation science'. He remarks that Dreyfus is not a computer scientist. This is true. But many 'cognitive scientists' aren't either, cognitive science being an interdisciplinary pursuit engaging philosophers, psychologists, linguists, neuroscientists, anthropologists and sociologists. It is unfortunate that Dreyfus allowed himself to polemicize by using the word 'alchemy' to characterize his opponents, but he has, by far, been the victim of unargued diatribes against his work. The fact is: most of the salient issues in cognitive science are logical and conceptual, NOT technological. Here, Dreyfus broke new ground (although I would have preferred his treatment to have been more Wittgensteinian than Heideggerian). Phil Agre's brilliant book on computation and human experience (Agre IS a computer scientist) shows that SOME AI-workers have found aspects of Dreyfus's work very telling. But, of course, the issues are, again, not empirical but logical in this field. See, for example, Graham Button et al., "Computers, Minds and Conduct" (Polity/Blackwell, 1995) which picks up where Dreyfus left off. Shallit remarks that Dreyfus has been 'refuted': where? by whom?The fact is that cognitivism is hotly contested by serious thinkers in many disciplines, but Shallit's name-calling (and the comparison of cognitivism's serious critics to creation scientists) smacks of an abdication from serious engagement and argument.Dreyfus's revised edition is a fine piece of work, worthy of serious intellectual discussion and confrontation. His many aarguments against Fodor, Chomsky, Simon and others have great merit. It is unfortunate that some folks simply close their eyes and argue from authority. But appeals to (even 'scientific') authority wear thin when left to stand alone!!"

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