15.430 rev of Dryfus, On the Internet

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 05:58:10 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 430.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 10:43:41 +0000
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Hubert Dreyfus: On the Internet

    Dear Humanist scholars,

    Hubert Dreyfus: On the Internet. London: Routledge, 2001, 107 pages. is
    Reviewed by Claus Elmholdt, Ph.D. Student, Institute of Psychology,
    University of Aarhus.

    The philosopher Hubert Dreyfus who published the groundbreaking critique
    on artificial intelligence, "What computers can't do " (1972), has always
    argued for fundamental differences between embodied humans and the
    disembodied machines. In his recent book, Dreyfus puts forward a critical
    comment on the Internet. Taking a phenomenological perspective he asks,
    what is the price that we pay when we leave our bodies behind and go

    Before continuing, a short update on the authorship may be helpful. As
    mentioned above, Dreyfus (1972) was one of the first to launch a critique
    of the artificial intelligence research program put forward by Alan Turing
    in the 1950's. The critique focuses upon the rationalistic neglect of the
    program to see embodiment and situatedness as fundamental aspects of
    intelligence. The program, later referred to as Good Old Fashioned
    Artificial Intelligence (GOFIA i ), follows a platonic and Cartesian
    tradition of seeing abstract intellectual capacities as the most important
    aspects of human intelligence. An understanding that leads GOFAI
    researchers to programme computers with symbolic representations of rules
    and facts, hoping that it would eventually provide the machines with the
    capacity for intelligent action. Today the GOFIA research program is in
    decline and the main AI researchers have shifted to models of the mind of
    greater complexity. In his critique of the GOFAI research program, Dreyfus
    follows Nietzsche in arguing that the emotional and intuitive capacities
    of our embodied being in the world are fundamental for intelligent action.
    Based on the same arguments, Hubert Dreyfus, together with his brother
    Stuart Dreyfus (1991), formulated a skill acquisition model consisting of
    five modes of functioning from novice to intuitive expert ii . In later
    writings, Hubert Dreyfus has discussed the skill acquisition model in
    relation to apprenticeship, and argued that access to imitation of experts
    is important to acquire the highest mode of functioning - intuitive
    expertise (1999). In the book reviewed here, Dreyfus follows the same
    phenomenological line of discussion and points his arguments towards the
    Internet. The result is a short and thought-provoking book to read for any
    net enthusiast and/or scholar who have interest in the topics of learning,
    knowledge and identity in relation to the Internet.

    To read the full text of the review, please visit the webpage at:


    Thank you!

    Yours, sincerely
    Arun Kumar Tripathi

    Dr Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer,
    Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London,
    Strand, London WC2R 2LS, U.K.,
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784, ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/,
    willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk, w.mccarty@btinternet.com

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