Philosophy of Computer Science

Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence

Last Update: 3 October 2012

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Entire courses have been devoted to this topic.

This page only lists a few items that are relevant to our course.


  1. AAAI's AI Topics website on Philosophy

  2. Some Standard Sources of Information on AI

  3. Definitions of AI:

  4. Rapaport's freshman-level lecture notes on AI

  5. Information on the Turing Test

On the Mind-Body (or Mind-Brain) Problem

  1. Mind-Body Theories (cartoon)

  2. Bechtel, William (1988), Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).

  3. Colburn, Timothy R. (2000), Philosophy and Computer Science (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe):

  4. On Functionalism

    1. Block, Ned (1996), "[What Is] Functionalism[?]", Encyclopedia of Philosophy Supplement

    2. Fodor, Jerry A. (1981, January), "The Mind-Body Problem", Scientific American 244(1): 114-123.

    3. Thagard, Paul (1986), "Parallel Computation and the Mind-Body Problem", Cognitive Science 10: 301-318.
      • An argument for the importance of the implementing medium in functionalistic theories of mind.

    4. Hilary Putnam's invention and subsequent refutation of functionalism:

        Putnam, Hilary (1960), "Minds and Machines" [PDF], in Sidney Hook (ed.), Dimensions of Mind: A Symposium (New York: New York University Press): 148-179.
        • Putnam's first article on functionalism.

      • Putnam, Hilary (1988), Representation and Reality (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
        • An argument against functionalism, by the philosopher who first proposed it.

    5. Piccinini, Gualtiero (2003), "The Mind as Neural Software: Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism", paper read at the APA Pacific Division (March 2004).

  5. On Emergent Properties

Other Readings

  1. Shannon, Claude E. (1950), "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess", Philosophical Magazine Ser.7, Vol.41, No.314 (March).

  2. Turing, Alan M. (1950), "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", Mind 59: 433-460.

  3. Fletcher, Joseph (1972), "Indicators of Humanhood: A Tentative Profile of Man", Hastings Center Report 2(5): 1-4.

  4. Newell, Allen, & Simon, Herbert A. (1976), "Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search", Communications of the ACM 19(3) (March): 113-126.

  5. NEW link:
    Searle, John R. (1980),
    "Minds, Brains, and Programs", Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3: 417 457.

  6. The secondary literature, both by Searle and by others, on the CRA is immense. The best brief overview is:

    Hauser, Larry (2001), "The Chinese Room Argument", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

  7. Rapaport's webpage on how to pass a Turing test and escape from the Chinese room

  8. Shapiro, Stuart C. (1995), "Computationalism" [postscript], Minds and Machines 5(4) (November): 517-524.

  9. Rapaport, William J. (1998), "How Minds Can Be Computational Systems", Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 10: 403-419.

  10. McDermott, Drew (2001), Mind and Mechanism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

  11. Smith, Brian Cantwell (2002), "The Foundations of Computing", in Scheutz, Matthias (ed.), Computationalism: New Directions (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press): 23-58.

  12. Schulman, Ari N. (2009), "Why Minds Are Not Like Computers", The New Atlantis (Winter): 46-68.

  13. Figdor, Carrie (2010), "Neuroscience and the Multiple Realization of Cognitive Functions", Philosophy of Science 77 (July): 419–456.


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