What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle? I am an engineer who is interested in AI and the possibility of machines become able to think and the philosophy behind this topic.

I have already enjoyed listening to a couple of lectures of John Searle and would like some help finding out how to discover more about the subject.

  • 5
    Be aware that Searle is not universally regarded as usefully on target by people who study AI. (Or by people who study biological intelligence.)
    – Rex Kerr
    Aug 27, 2011 at 15:09
  • I thought that John Searle was pretty much flatly against the possibility of AI...? Given that I am not sure how you could have become interested in the topic by listening to him speak. It is like asking what books to read if you learned about auto mechanics from a farrier.
    – user16869
    Feb 18, 2016 at 1:26
  • @nocomprende I did not say I got interested in the topic because I listened to him speak. I listened to him because I am interested in the topic and he is taking a critic position that's interesting to know.
    – M.Sameer
    Feb 18, 2016 at 11:10
  • @user16869 no, Searle refutes the computational model of consciousness and - as he's identified it - "strong AI" but he is does not argue that "weak AI" is impossible at all. Check out his article Minds, Brains, Programs. Elsewhere he also distinguishes the ambiguity of terms like artificial, intelligence & information but his aim is consciousness and the philosophy if mind, not computational engineering.
    – MmmHmm
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:35
  • If you can find a philosopher of mind who understands mind then please let us all know. The people who actually study this phenomenon are not philosophers of mind. I have no recommendations. In order to get to know the current state of the subject in academia I would suggest subscribing to the Journal of Consciousness Studies.
    – user20253
    Jul 25, 2019 at 11:15

3 Answers 3


I use John Heil's Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology, which is great in that it contains readings covering the breadth of philosophy of mind and from different perspectives on the various topics rather than a collection of works that are solely aligned with the editor's views. It also contains all the classic papers which anyone seeking introductory knowledge in Philosophy of Mind should read, with readings from Descartes, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, Ned Block, John Searle, Alan Turing, Daniel Dennett, Thomas Nagel, David Chalmers, and more.

It touches on:

  • the history of philosophy of mind
  • behaviorism and mind-brain identity
  • functionalism
  • artificial intelligence
  • interpretationism
  • eliminitivism
  • externalism and mental content
  • subjectivity and self-knowledge
  • consciousness
  • reduction
  • mind-body problem
  • challenges to contemporary materialism

One of these days I'm going to go through several different anthologies to make sure I've not missed anything worthwhile. If a subject really interests you, there's no way you stop at just one book. :P


I like this one:
Artificial Intelligence: A Philosophical Introduction
By: Jack Copeland, 1993 (link)

It is mainly about AI, but compares the functinality of the brain and machines. Very basic, straight forward, and pleasant to read. As for Searle-related things, the Chinese room argument is used at least.


See Intelligence and Spirit by Reza Negarestani. It focuses on various cognitive, computational and ethical issues around the philosophy of mind and artificial general intelligence, with influences from Kant, Hegel, Sellars, Brandom and Turing.

  • I made an edit to fix a link. You may roll this back or continue editing. Welcome. Jul 24, 2019 at 20:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .