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"A breathtakingly original assault on all the Big Issues! When philosophers get stuck in ruts, it often takes a brilliant outsider tojolt them onto new ground, and Gary Drescher, coming to philosophy from AI, offers a startling feast of new ideas. I'm sure some of them are right, but I can't tell which! Can you?"--Daniel Dennett, author of *Brainchildren*, *Sweet Dreams*, and *Breaking the Spell*
A breathtakingly original assault on all the Big Issues! When philosophers get stuck in ruts, it often takes a brilliant outsider tojolt them onto new ground, and Gary Drescher, coming to philosophy from AI, offers a startling feast of new ideas. I'm sure some of them are right, but I can't tell which! Can you?(Daniel Dennett, author of Brainchildren, Sweet Dreams, and Breaking the Spell)
In an extraordinary tour de force, Drescher has written a powerful defense of rationalism and of a deterministic universe. He systematically examines and dismantles the arguments against a mechanical view of the universe and the mind. Drescher shows how a computational perspective enables us to solve the longstanding mysteries of the real and the good; how the physical world, consciousness, and free choice arise from deterministic mechanisms; and how the universe and everything (and everyone) in it is essentially a computation. In contrast to a prevailing relativism, Drescher demonstrates that both truth and ethics can be placed on a rational foundation.(Uri Wilensky, Northwester Institute on Complex Systems, Northwestern University, and author of the NetLogo multiagent modeling environment)
Gary Drescher thinks that attempts to solve the deep problems that have stumped philosophers since time immemorial -- or have caused them to resort to silly answers -- have been thwarted largely by a set of relatively simple yet significant misunderstandings in logic and physics. He is right about that, and his careful debunking and explanations are clear and compelling. He also believes that by avoiding these errors, he has found solutions to the weightiest of those problems -- in particular, the true nature of right and wrong and the true nature of subjective sensation and consciousness. Of that, I am not convinced. But in making the attempt, he has provided a valuable and entertaining introduction to rational thinking in a variety of fields.(David Deutsch, University of Oxford, author of The Fabric of Reality)
"*Somehow* the brain must be the mind --- *your* brain must be *your* mind. How can we get to a vantage point from which we can understand this? The steady march of neuroscience, or the mincing crabwalk of academic philosophy, will take you only a few steps. Dan Lloyd has found a delicious way of seducing our imaginations into brand new places, the places we have all been trying to reach: try mind dancing in this new genre, the neuroscience novel of consciousness."--Daniel Dennett, author of *Brainchildren*, *Sweet Dreams*, and *Breaking the Spell*
Gary L. Drescher is an independent scholar and was recently Visiting Fellow at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from MIT in 1989 and is the author of Made-Up Minds: A Constructivist Approach to Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 1991).