BrainChildren, Essays on Designing Minds
Daniel C. Dennett, 1998

I. Philosophy of Mind

Chapter 1. Can Machines Think?

Chapter 2. Speaking for Our Selves

Chapter 3. Do-It-Yourself Understanding

Chapter 4. Two Contrasts: Folk Craft versus Folk Science, and Belief versus Opinion

Chapter 5. Real Patterns

Chapter 6. Julian Jaynes's Software Archeology

Chapter 7. Real Consciousness

Chapter 8. Instead of Qualia

Chapter 9. The Practical Requirements for Making a Conscious Robot

Chapter 10. The Unimagined Preposterousness of Zombies: Commentary on Moody, Flanagan, and Polger

II. Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life

Chapter 11. Cognitive Wheels: The Frame Problem of AI

Chapter 12. Producing Future by Telling Stories

Chapter 13. The Logical Geography of Computational Approaches: A View from the East Pole

Chapter 14. Hofstadter's Quest: A Tale of Cognitive Pursuit

Chapter 15. Foreword to Robert French, The Subtlety of Sameness
French discusses the operation of a computer program, the Tabletop model, capable of deciding on the degree of similarity or "sameness" of different things. Dennett, quite rightly, understands the fundamental importance of this issue of degree of similarity to the essence of intelligent behavior.

Chapter 16. Cognitive Science as Reverse Engineering: Several Meanings of "Top-Down" and "Bottom-Up"

Chapter 17. Artificial Life as Philosophy

Chapter 18. When Philosophers Encounter Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 19. Review of Allen Newell, Unified Theories of Cognition
The greater part of Newell's book seems to be devoted to the discussion of his work with a reasoning system called Soar. Dennett takes from this discussion a number of interesting observations pertaining to the progress of AI in dealing with mind and of philosophers' responses to that progress (or lack of it).

III. Ethology, Animal Mind

Chapter 20. Out of the Armchair and into the Field

Chapter 21. Cognitive Ethology: Hunting for Bargains or a Wild Goose Chase

Chapter 22. Do Animals Have Beliefs?
Preliminary to a discussion of animal beliefs, Dennett defines belief in such a way that all knowledge is belief. Believing something is the same as knowing it. Other than a puzzling detour which, as far as I can tell, deals with the nature of abstraction, most of the remainder of the chapter is concerned with justifying the strict position that
belief equals knowledge .

Chapter 23. Why Creative Intelligence is Hard to Find: Commentary on Whiten and Byrne

Chapter 24. Animal Consciousness: What Matters and Why

IV. Standing Back

Chapter 25. Self-Portrait

Chapter 26. Information, Technology, and the Virtues of Ignorance

Top of Page | BCEDM Opinion | Sort by Topic | Sort by Title | Sort by Author