PHIL-491 Philosophy of Mind/Cog Sci
Fall for 2010-2011
In a recent paper, Daniel C. Dennett (TopiCS, 2009) made the following observation:
"One of the reasons cognitive science is such a land of plenty for philosophers is that so many of its questions—not just the grand bird’s-eye view questions but quite proximal, in-the-lab-now questions—are still ill thought out, prematurely precipitated into forms that deserve critical reevaluation. If philosophy is, as my bumper sticker slogan has it, what you’re doing until you ?gure out just what questions to ask, then there is a lot of philosophy to be done by cognitive scientists these days."
In this course we will attempt to examine some of the core issues in the philosophy of cognitive science that deserve this sort of critical revaluation. In the first part of the course, we will turn our attention to broad issues about the sort of methodology that ought to be adopted in studying the mind. We will ask whether the mind is best understood in computational terms (and if so, we will ask what kind of computer it is); we will ask whether the mind is a system of dedicated modules (and if so, we will ask what this means); and we will ask whether the mind extends beyond the boundaries of skin-and-skull. In the second part of the course, we will turn our attention to a currently hot topic in the cognitive science that will be chosen by the students who are enrolled in the class. Possible topics include the cognitive science of moral judgment, embodied models of cognition, or the scientific study of consciousness.
Over the course of the semester you will write two short papers (one on methodology, and one on our chosen topic), and you will be expected to contribute to a class blog and to in class discussion. No previous knowledge of cognitive science is required.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '10: Huebner, B. (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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