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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Rethinking Cognitive Computation

Turing and the Science of the Mind

ISBN 9781403911612
Publication Date December 2005
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

Rethinking Cognitive Computation explores the hypothesis that the mind is a computer. The exploration is based on the pioneering work of Alan Turing and presents the first detailed exposition of his theory of computation intended specifically for psychologists. Turing's bold and beautiful theory provides an ideal perspective from which to evaluate current computational thinking about the mind. The book examines the strengths and weaknesses of symbol systems and connectionist theorising and proposes a new approach called ecological functionalism. Ecological functionalism is based on Turing's fundamental insights and extends them by drawing on contemporary theories of concurrent and distributed computation to cover a wide range of psychological domains. Ecological functionalism provides the basis for a powerful, unified theory of great scope which includes social as well as individual processes. The book is intended for teaching but will also be of interest to researchers in cognitive science, psychology and philosophy of mind.

Andrew Wells is a lecturer in psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has qualifications in philosophy, psychology and computer science and has published papers on a range of psychological topics.

ANDREW WELLS is Lecturer in Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has qualifications in philosophy, psychology and computer science and has published papers on a range of psychological topics.

Making the Modern Mind
Functional States and Mini-minds
Exploring Sets of Mini-minds
Environments and Actions
Turing's Analysis of Computation
Turing's Example Machines
Turing's Functional Notation
Standard Descriptions and Description Numbers
Basic Components of the Universal Machine
The Universal Machine in Detail
Turing's Unsolvability Proofs
Von Neumann Computer Architecture
Virtual Architecture
The Commitments of the Computational Theory of Mind
Evaluating the Computational Theory of Mind
Ecological Functionalism: Computation
Ecological Functionalism: Psychology


Rethinking Cognitive Computation provides a fresh perspective on Alan Turing's role in the 'cognitive revolution', and on the relation between Turing machines and modern computers...This highly original book should be required reading for anyone interested in the history and foundations of cognitive science.' - Frances Egan, Rutgers University Department of Philosophy and Centre for Cognitive Science, USA
'An interesting and spirited defense of the relevance of Turing's account of computation to cognitive science...This is a fascinating proposal that should interest researchers and students across the broad range of disciplines involved in the cognitive sciences.' - Mike Oaksford, Professor of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
'In this provocative combination of contemporary theory-building and historical enquiry, Wells asks whether the Turing machine, that stalwart of classical cognitive science, should be seen as a forward-looking model of environmentally embedded cognition. He makes a convincing case for it in this rich and intriguing book.' - Andy Clark, Professor of Philosophy, Edinburgh University, UK
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