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Computation and Human Experience (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) Paperback – July 28, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521386036 ISBN-10: 0521386039

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Product Details

  • Series: Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521386039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521386036
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,257,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'[an] excellently produced book ... extremely informative, easily readable and good value for money.' Palass Newsletter

Book Description

By paying close attention to the metaphors of artificial intelligence and their consequences for the field's patterns of success and failure, this text argues for a reorientation of the field away from thought and toward activity. It offers a critical reconstruction of AI research.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Coffeecoffeecoffee on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
During the 1980s, there were two main approaches to the computational study of human intelligence. The first, and largest, was the symbolic approach, derived from the work of Church and Turing, and later championed by two giants in the field, Simon and Newell. These researchers formulated the Physical Symbol System Hypothesis, according to which all of human intelligence can be expressed as a process of search in a symbolic state space transformed through the use of equally discrete operators.

The other camp, mostly hiding in the shadows for much of this time, derived from control theory and the servomechanisms of WWII. They held that the human brain was not a discrete symbol-processing entity but rather something constantly in direct contact with a continuous world. Although this group found its closest computational champions in Rosenblatt and Rumelhart, it paled in comparison to the promises and research invested early on in the symbolic approach.

Agre's book, Computation and Human Experience, was written as a call to arms for researchers in the symbolic tradition, a challenge to critically re-evaluate their own ideas and methods. In contrast to the "mentalist" juggernaut, Agre proposes an interactionist view of cognition, and shows how such an approach can be reconciled with the technical practice of constructing computational models. The book achieves a rare balance of philosophical argument with computational theory, though in both sides experts will be able to find holes in Agre's arguments.

However, the biggest problem with this book is its relevance to the current state of affairs.
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