This abstract is by a professor of English at a major university; it is for "A Prolegomenon to Cognitive Aesthetics." It will not, I fear, enhance the opinion of philosophers about what goes on in some English Departments:
In this essay I begin with the proposition that AI [Artificial Intelligence] programs attempt to construct poems to blow our heads off. Beginning with this proposition opens up at least two pathways. The first pathway leads to the investigation of the nature of theories of mind, logic, and language. This is the domain of cognitive science and philosophy. I will say something about this pathway, but my concerns involve the construction of a second pathway, a path characterized by the transformation of the question 'what does it mean to be human?' into the question 'can one construct a philosophy of mind from literary aesthetics?'. Both questions should be understood as ways (failed ways) of trying to figure what is real as what is meaningful, what I understand as the paradigmatic goal of theology. Consequently, the mind understood in this way is both a theological and aesthetic problem, as much as a scientific question. Accomplishing the transformation of these two questions will delineate a domain of inquiry in which the relation between what counts as the mind and what counts as ways of meaning can be sensibly questioned.
These questions are partly motivated by the conflicting claims a string of related words have on me, or anyone, words through which I emerge as a human being to myself within language: 'psyche', 'animate', 'inanimate', 'soul', 'mind', 'inhabit', 'meaning', understand', 'description', 'justify', 'I', 'we', 'mine', 'our', 'world, 'before', 'after', 'then', 'now', 'soon', 'change', and 'time'. I organize this collection around four superordinate words: 'meaning', 'self-reflection', 'mind' and 'animation'. These four words mark the primary areas of contention between the disciplines of literature, analytic philosophy, and cognitive science (or AI). I call these words and the area of contention they delimit cognitive aesthetics.
Reading this brings to mind John Searle's famous remark about Derrida: "this is the kind of stuff that gives bullshit a bad name."