Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 May 2010
This book collects together a group of fundamental papers on the foundations of artificial intelligence, with selected papers and subsequent discussion from a workshop on the foundations of AI held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1986. The liveliness of the workshop papers and discussions is intended to complement the older, classic papers.
To give the book a structure that will make it accessible to students of the field, we have added a full annotated bibliography, as well as binding explanatory material between the contributions.
At the Las Cruces workshop one of the first questions confronted was the role played by philosophy in the foundations of AI, since philosophy is a subject that comes running whenever foundational or methodological issues arise. The question is important and inevitable but it must always be remembered that there is still an unreformed core of AI practitioners who believe that such assistance – not only from philosophers but from psychologists and linguists as well – can only detract from serious methodological discussions that should take place only between practitioners in private. (A distinguished AI figure said this during the planning period for the workshop.) We need to ask whether that attitude is normal in the sciences, or would-be sciences. For, if it is, then AI is in no way special in these matters, and we can draw benefit from study of the methodologies of other sciences.