The Discovery of the Artificial
During the second half of the twentieth century, researchers in cybernetics and AI, neural nets and connectionism, ALife, and new robotics have endeavored to build different machines that could simulate functions of living organisms, such as adaptation and development, intelligence, and learning. In this book these research programs are discussed, and their philosophical significance is stressed. One of the actual novelties in this book consists of the fact that certain projects involving the building of simulative machines before the advent of cybernetics are investigated for the first time, on the basis of little-known, and sometimes completely forgotten or unpublished, texts. These precybernetic projects can be considered as steps towards the discovery of a simulative methodology that has been fully developed by these research programs, and that shares some of their central goals and key methodological proposals.
The book provides a valuable text for undergraduate and graduate courses on the historical and theoretical issues of Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence, Psychology, Neuroscience, and the Philosophy of Mind. The book should also be of interest for researchers in these fields, who will find in it analyses of certain crucial issues in both the earlier and more recent history of their disciplines, as well as interesting overall insights into the current debate on the nature of mind.