Goodbye, Descartes: The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind

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9780471251866: Goodbye, Descartes: The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind

"[Goodbye, Descartes] is certain to attract attention and controversy..a fascinating journey to the edges of logical thinking and beyond." -Publishers Weekly (???) Critical Acclaim for Keith Devlin's Previous Book Mathematics: The Science of Patterns "A book such as this belongs in the personal library of everyone interested in learning about some of the most subtle and profound works of the human spirit." -American Scientist "Devlin's very attractive book is a well-written attempt to explain mathematics to educated nonmathematicians . the basic ideas are presented in a clear, concise, and easily understood manner. Highly recommended." -Choice "[Devlin] has found an interesting way of exhibiting how mathematics is unified . the author's presentation is a tour de force." -Mathematical Reviews A Selection of the Newbridge Library of Science and Reader's Subscription

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From the Publisher:

Critically-acclaimed author Keith Devlin shows how the concept of the mind as a logic machine developed and came to be so widely accepted. Along the way, we encounter the genius of ancient logicians such as Socrates and Zeno of Elea and learn about the logic puzzles they invented. We also meet towering figures of the late nineteenth century, such as Alan Turing, who invented the logic of computing, and Noam Chomsky, who proposed that all human languages are essentially logical and follow universal rules. Reveals a host of findings in the past 2,000 years which demonstrates that logic does not begin to describe how the mind really works. He also shows how efforts to use logic to create "thinking machines" have failed miserably and why those failures demonstrate that no machine would ever think the way the human mind does.

From the Back Cover:

"[Goodbye, Descartes] is certain to attract attention and controversy . . . a fascinating journey to the edges of logical thinking and beyond."—Publishers Weekly(P).

"A masterly survey of Aristotelian and Stoic logic, of George Boole's 19th-century "algebra of thought," [and] of the contemporary project to produce a talking computer."—Wall Street Journal.

"Superb historical analysis of how 'mind' and natural language came to be understood as products of a logic machine. . . . This is frontier science, conveyed by a practitioner who cares about and knows how to enliven the relevant history."—Wilson Quarterly.

What are the laws of thought that allow human beings to reason and communicate so effectively? Can rules of thought and language be written down and programmed into computers that will one day think and communicate as well as we do?

In a lively and stimulating narrative, acclaimed author Keith Devlin chronicles scientists' centuries-old quest to discover the laws of thought, from the astonishingly adept efforts of the ancient Greeks, to the invention of the first primitive "thinking machine" in the late nineteenth century, to radical findings that are challenging the very notion that the mind follows logical rules.

A Selection of the Newbridge Library of Science and Reader's Subscription

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