The discovery of the artificial: some protocybernetic developments 1930-1940

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In this paper I start from a definition of “culture of the artificial” which might be stated by referring to the background of philosophical, methodological, pragmatical assumptions which characterizes the development of the information processing analysis of mental processes and of some trends in contemporary cognitive science: in a word, the development of AI as a candidate science of mind. The aim of this paper is to show how (with which plausibility and limitations) the discovery of the mentioned background might be dated back to a period preceding the cybernetic era, the decade 1930–1940 at least. Therefore a somewhat detailed analysis of Hull's “robot approach” is given, as well as of some of its independent and future developments. Reprinted in R.L. Chrisley (ed.), Artificial Intelligence: Critical Concepts in Cognitive Science, vol. 1, Routledge, London and New York, 2000, pp. 301-326.
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