2.58 Minds and Machines

Category: Philosophy of Mind

Keywords: turing, machines, functionalism, machine, states, dennett, computer, affairs, state, qualia, intentionality, behaviour, searle, block, creature

Number of Articles: 198
Percentage of Total: 0.6%
Rank: 76th

Weighted Number of Articles: 253.7
Percentage of Total: 0.8%
Rank: 65th

Mean Publication Year: 1984.2
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1978.8
Median Publication Year: 1984
Modal Publication Year: 1989

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0547)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Wide Content (0.0306)
Topic with Least Overlap: Crime and Punishment (0.00024)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Classical Space and Time (0.00089)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the minds and machinestopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1989 when 1.6% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1899 when 0.1% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.58 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.136: Minds and machines.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Minds and Machinestopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.7%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.7%. Ethics - 0.4%. Philosophical Review - 0.7%. Analysis - 0.9%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.5%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.7%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 1.1%. Philosophy of Science - 0.6%. Noûs - 1.0%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.9%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 1.3%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1989 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 1.5% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1899 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.1% of the articles.

Figure 2.137: Minds and machines articles in each journal.

Table 2.142: Characteristic articles of the minds and machines topic.
Table 2.143: Highly cited articles in the minds and machines topic.


This is another topic that came in a little smaller than I expected, perhaps in part because the model was construing it slightly more narrowly than I was. I certainly would have guessed that articles about minds and machines would be much more than 0.6–0.8 percent of the articles.

The explanation here is that the topic got squeezed from all sides. There are topics about physicalism, conceivability arguments, wide content and cognitive science. What’s left here are articles on a very specific range of arguments about whether minds are best thought of as machines. Put that way, the real surprise is that it hasn’t faded more. There is a small downward trajectory towards the right-hand edge, but only a small one. Issues that Turing, Gödel, Searle and others raised continue to fascinate philosophers.