Thinking without Words (I Am Not a Machine, Book 1)

Lynch, Jack

Published by Aventine Press, 2004
ISBN 10: 1593301510 / ISBN 13: 9781593301514
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Synopsis: The humanist's plaintive cry, "I am not a machine" is in response to the mainstream cognitive science view that the human mind is similar to a computational machine, what scientist's call a formal system. In a series of three books, Dr. Lynch challenges these mainstream theories by showing how human cognition consists of two parts: a part inherited from the nonhuman primates that is not based on language, and a part that is based on human natural syntactic language. Natural language is therefore, not just a means of communication, as asserted by most cognitive scientists, but is essential to what is often referred to as human thought or reason. Humans can, of course, think without using language but only in a way that is also shared by our chimp cousins. Characterizing that languageless mode of cognition is the focus of this first book, Thinking Without Words.

From the Author: At a symposium on cognition and the humanities that I attended in the mid-1980s, a heated argument broke out after the screening of an independent science fiction film. The film’s plot was about removing a volunteer’s brain to a vat where it would be connected via wires and electronic communications to his head. This drastic surgical procedure was required to prevent the volunteer’s brain from being destroyed by radioactivity when he descended into the ocean depths to retrieve a damaged nuclear device that threatened to kill all life on our planet. In the movie, the brave volunteer (played by the mind science philosopher Dan Dennet) first underwent a test where he could switch over from his own brain in a vat to a back-up external computer brain. Dennett himself appeared at the symposium wearing the brain switch on his belt and frequently "switched over," to the great amusement of many people in the audience. However, a number of other people in the audience we! re very upset by the concept of an equivalence of a machine brain and a biological brain. The humanist battle cry was essentially, "I am not a machine!" while the scientists’ response was, "Yes you are!" But that was about as deep as the discussion got. I felt that both sides of the debate needed to deeply rethink and more clearly explain their ideas so that a superficial argument could become a fruitful debate. I wrote these books to fill that need.

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Title: Thinking without Words (I Am Not a Machine, ...
Publisher: Aventine Press
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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