Begun in research inspired by Marvin Minsky’s statement of a goal, expressed as our need for a better theory about the emergence of the control structure of mind, this book has developed as an attempt to tie down some powerful ideas from the discipline of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and try them out on the interpretation of human behavior. The focus on detailed interpretation of the individual case makes this work more than a popularization of AI ideas because I offer the reader the chance to explore a major psychological issue, learning, through the analysis of how the mind developes from interaction with specific experiences.
Nearly every man of intellectual aspiration hopes ultimately to make sense of some part of life and to contribute whatever he can to mankind’s proper study. Such is my ambition. Learning shapes the life of every man and transmits the experience of the race. A theme so pervasive and focussing on the distinctive character of man, the cultural transmission of experience, must lead to controversy. Should this work tax your tolerance, please bear in mind these words of Warren McCulloch: