Presupposing no familiarity with the technical concepts of either philosophy or computing, this clear introduction reviews the progress made in AI since the inception of the field in 1956. Copeland goes on to analyze what those working in AI must achieve before they can claim to have built a thinking machine and appraises their prospects of succeeding.
There are clear introductions to connectionism and to the language of thought hypothesis which weave together material from philosophy, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. John Searle's attacks on AI and cognitive science are countered and close attention is given to foundational issues, including the nature of computation, Turing Machines, the Church-Turing Thesis and the difference between classical symbol processing and parallel distributed processing. The book also explores the possibility of machines having free will and consciousness and concludes with a discussion of in what sense the human brain may be a computer.