One often hears the sentiment from computermen that any philosophers worth their salt have long since transferred to computer science departments.Well, I've thought it, but I haven't often heard it. Check out this cite from Marvin Minsky:
I think that Computer Science is the most important thing that?s happened since the invention of writing. Fifty years ago, in the 1950s, human thinkers learned for the first time how to describe complicated machines. We invented something called computer programming language, and for the first time people had a way to describe complicated processes and systems, systems made of thousands of little parts all connected together: networks. Before 1950 there was no language to discuss this, no way for two people to exchange ideas about complicated machines. Why is that important to understand? Because that?s what we are. Computer Science is important, but that importance has nothing to do with computers. Computer Science is a new philosophy about complicated processes, about life, about artificial life and natural life, about artificial intelligence and natural intelligence. It can help us understand our brain. It can help us understand how we learn and what knowledge is.Holy crap.
Aristotle, Kant, Descartes, and other philosophers didn?t know that you need an operating system, the part of the brain that does all of the housework for the other parts, to use knowledge. So all philosophy, I think, is stupid. It was very good to try to make philosophy. Those people tried to make theories of thinking, theories of knowledge, theories of ethics, and theories of art, but they were like babies because they had no words to describe the processes or the data. How does one part of the brain read the processes in another part of the brain and use them to solve a problem? No one knows, and before 1960 no one asked. In a computer the data is alive. If you read philosophy you will find that they were very smart people. But they had no idea of the possibilities of how thinking might work. So I advise all students to read some philosophy and with great sympathy, not to understand what the philosopher said, but to feel compassionate and say, Think of those poor people years ago who tried so hard to cook without ingredients, who tried to build a house without wood and nails, who tried to build a car without steel, rubber or gasoline.? So look at philosophy with sympathy, but don?t look for knowledge. There is none.