The Meaning of Thought
From populist propaganda attacking knowledge as 'fake news' to the latest advances in artificial intelligence, human thought is under unprecedented attack today. If computers can do what humans can do and they can do it much faster, what's so special about human thought? In this new book, bestselling philosopher Markus Gabriel steps back from the polemics to re-examine the very nature of human thought. He conceives of human thinking as a 'sixth sense', a kind of sense organ that is closely tied our biological reality as human beings. Our thinking is not a form of data processing but rather the linking together of images and imaginary ideas which we process in different sensory modalities. Our time frame expands far beyond the present moment, as our ideas and beliefs stretch far beyond the here and now. We are living beings and the whole of evolution is built into our life story. In contrast to some of the exaggerated claims made by proponents of AI, Gabriel argues that our thinking is a complex structure and organic process that is not easily replicated and very far from being superseded by computers. With his usual wit and intellectual verve, Gabriel combines philosophical insight with pop culture to set out a bold defence of the human and a plea for an enlightened humanism for the 21st century. This timely book will be of great value to anyone interested in the nature of human thought and the relations between human beings and machines in an age of rapid technological change.
Markus Gabriel holds the chair for Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn and is also the Director of the International Center for Philosophy in Bonn.