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Finding out the true scientific answer


New philosophy and the historians of thought
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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I think of it as sort of very important, but in almost the opposite way, which was that philosophy... There’s two aspects of philosophy. There’s... there's the current new philosophy and then there’s the... the philosophers who are really historians of thought and so forth. And it seems to me that the first kind who were just wondering how things work are... they’re what produces the sciences. And as soon as you have a Galileo, then the philosophers who tried... then the Aristotles who tried to understand the world in... they tried to understand the world in terms of the concepts already there, maybe. And then, when they hit a stone wall and things don’t change, it might be a hundred years and then somebody appears who later we call a scientist who says, oh maybe there’s this and that. So, I... I see philos... I think maybe we’re talking about the philosophers on the scene trying to do something and the philosophers who are employed to teach people the old stuff. And of course they're both... they go... they both have the same name.

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) was one of the pioneers of the field of Artificial Intelligence, founding the MIT AI lab in 1970. He also made many contributions to the fields of mathematics, cognitive psychology, robotics, optics and computational linguistics. Since the 1950s, he had been attempting to define and explain human cognition, the ideas of which can be found in his two books, The Emotion Machine and The Society of Mind. His many inventions include the first confocal scanning microscope, the first neural network simulator (SNARC) and the first LOGO 'turtle'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Galileo Galilei, Aristotle

Duration: 1 minute, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 12 May 2011