On the Origin of Objects

Cambridge: Mass. : MIT Press (1996)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

On the Origin of Objects is the culmination of Brian Cantwell Smith's decade-long investigation into the philosophical and metaphysical foundations of computation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science. Based on a sustained critique of the formal tradition that underlies the reigning views, he presents an argument for an embedded, participatory, "irreductionist," metaphysical alternative. Smith seeks nothing less than to revise our understanding not only of the machines we build but also of the world with which they interact. Smith's ambitious project begins as a search for a comprehensive theory of computation, able to do empirical justice to practice and conceptual justice to the computational theory of mind. A rigorous commitment to these two criteria ultimately leads him to recommend a radical overhaul of our traditional conception of metaphysics. Everything that exists - objects, properties, life, practice - lies Smith claims in the "middle distance," an intermediate realm of partial engagement with and partial separation from, the enveloping world. Patterns of separation and engagement are taken to underlie a single notion unifying representation and ontology: that of subjects' "registration" of the world around them. Along the way, Smith offers many fascinating ideas: the distinction between particularity and individuality, the methodological notion of an "inscription error," an argument that there are no individualswithin physics, various deconstructions of the type-instance distinction, an analysis of formality as overly disconnected ("discreteness run amok"), a conception of the boundaries of objects as properties of unruly interactions between objects and subjects, an argument for the theoretical centrality of reference preservation, and a theatrical, acrobatic metaphor for the contortions involved in the preservation of reference and resultant stabilization of objects. Sidebars and diagrams throughout the book help clarify and guide Smith's highly original and compelling argument. A Bradford Book.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,452

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Brian Cantwell Smith, On the Origin of Objects.D. Lomas - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1):119-119.
On the origin of objects.R. P. Loui - 1998 - Artificial Intelligence 106 (2):353-358.
On the Origin of Objects. [REVIEW]John Black - 1998 - Review of Metaphysics 51 (3):720-721.
On the Origin of Objects.Oron Shagrir - 1997 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 1 (6):239-239.
Extruding Intentionality from the Metaphysical Flux.Josefa Toribio - 1999 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Ai 11:501-518.
Adam Smith on Women.Maureen Harkin - 2013 - In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
What Theoretical Equivalence Could Not Be.Trevor Teitel - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):4119-4149.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-02-02

Downloads
29 (#548,468)

6 months
11 (#350,042)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Brian Smith
University of Toronto, St. George

Citations of this work

The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science.Tim van Gelder - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):615-28.
Change Detection.Ronald A. Rensink - 2002 - Annual Review of Psychology 53 (1):245-277.
Computation without representation.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (2):205-241.
The dynamic representation of scenes.Ronald A. Rensink - 2000 - Visual Cognition 7 (1/2/3):17-42.

View all 66 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references