Cognitive Science | Philosophical Foundations of the Cognitive & Information Sciences
Q540 | 1068 | Clark


6:00P-8:30P, T, SY 105

The first third of this course ('Symbols') examines standard
materialist conceptions of mind, especially the functionalist vision
of mind as a kind of computer program running in the brain.
Classical and connectionist versions of this view are described and
compared.  The next part of the course ('Bodies') looks at recent
waves of work in robotics, dynamics, and artificial life, examining
an emerging conception of mind that emphasizes embodiment and
action.  The course ends ('Context') by looking at the way
surrounding technologies, from reading and writing to Google and
telepresence, can alter and transform our mental horizons,
reconfiguring our sense of who, what, and where we are.  Overall,
the goal is to ask some hard questions about the nature of the self,
the relations between mind, body, and world, and the explanatory
tools and frameworks needed for a mature cognitive science.  Along
the way, we stumble repeatedly across the complex issues surrounding
the scientific explanation of consciousness and experience.  These
are discussed but not resolved!