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Machines with a Point of View

Hilary Putnam, 4 February 1982

Minds and Mechanisms: Philosophical Psychology and Computational Models 
by Margaret Boden.
Harvester, 311 pp., £20, October 1981, 0 7108 0005 3
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... Margaret Boden’s somewhat breathless book sings the praises of the new ‘computational’ models in psychology and of what she rightly calls ‘the computational metaphor’. A feature of her writing is the making of (what seem to be) strong claims followed or prefaced by judicious disclaimers. When she is functioning in what I am tempted to call her disclaimer mode, she warns us against various kinds of intellectual ‘imperialism’ that AI people engage in at times (‘AI’ is the acronym for Artificial Intelligence – computer simulation of ‘intelligent’ behaviour), urges a Popperian stance of trying to falsify strong claims, and even denies that computers could in principle be conscious or have intentional states (in a non-metaphorical sense ...

Piaget v. Chomsky

Peter Bryant, 21 February 1980

Piaget 
by Margaret Boden.
Fontana, 174 pp., £1.25, September 1980, 0 00 635537 4
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Théories du Langage. Théories de l’Apprentissage. Le débat entre Jean Piaget et Noam Chomsky 
edited by Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini.
Seuil, 538 pp.
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... side of his theory and to leave the rest well alone. Breadth, however, is the great strength of Margaret Boden’s introduction to Piaget. In a short but extremely versatile book* she deals with the psychological, philosophical, mathematical and biological sides of his work simply and competently. She has an interesting chapter on the ...

Representing Grandma

Steven Rose, 7 July 1994

The Astounding Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul 
by Francis Crick.
Simon and Schuster, 317 pp., £16.99, May 1994, 9780671711580
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... this was how real brains worked. This ‘top-down’ approach was once memorably encapsulated by Margaret Boden as ‘You don’t need brains to be brainy.’ The silicon chemistry of the microchip could effectively incarnate (or better, I suppose, inmachinate) the carbon chemistry of the neurons. The natural allies of such AI theorists are cognitive ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... the Duchess of Windsor in a triple-pearl choker, Dorothy Sayers in a mannish coat and tie or Margaret Thatcher in high pie-crust frills, send messages about power rather than vulnerability. One of the most striking portraits in the book juxtaposes two images of female exposure and protection. Dame Laura Knight’s self-portrait of 1913 shows the artist ...

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