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What is Thought?

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In What Is Thought? Eric Baum proposes a computational explanation of thought. Just as Erwin Schrodinger in his classic 1944 work What Is Life? argued ten years before the discovery of DNA that life must be explainable at a fundamental level by physics and chemistry, Baum contends that the present-day inability of computer science to explain thought and meaning is no reason to doubtIn ...more
Paperback, 492 pages
Published December 19th 2003 by Bradford Book
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Peter Mcloughlin
I don't know why originally gave this book a four. It is among my favorites. This book gives the best physical/computational account of the brain/mind. It is wide-ranging pulling ideas from computer science, biology, philosophy, economics to make a very plausible picture on what the mind does, how it works, what are the mechanisms behind it, consciousness and the hard problem and it goes into details. This book has many ideas including neural nets, Turing machines, syntax vs. semantics, evolutio ...more
William Adams
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Eric Baum points out that until recently, most scientists thought biological life could never be rationally explained but today few people doubt that a scientific explanation of life is possible. In the same way, we should now believe that the mind can be explained in terms of physics, biology, mathematics, and other scientific principles. This book claims to provide that explanation.

Baum chooses the theory of evolution and principles of computer science to sculpt a remarkable image of t
...more
Prateek
an intriguing read. Baum's basic thesis is thought is a computer programming. Much of the basic semantics of our thought processes are coded in our genes. Essentially in our DNA exists meta-learning algorithms with an inductive bias to direct us towards learning certain things and perceive certain structures in the world. He analyzes the computational capability of evolution to produce the type of intelligence in humans it has produced.
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
Wide ranging with many interesting points, though more enlightening for readers unfamiliar with the things Baum is talking about. However: too much reliance on massive modularity (let's face it: it's nonsense) and too little focus on embodiment.
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