Cognitive Science | Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science
Q240 | 6045 | R. Rose


Cognitive Science ,  Philosophical Foundations of the Cognitive and
Information Sciences
Q240, 6045, TuTh 11:15a.m.  12:30p.m.; Read Hall (RE) 2-120B
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Lecture: 11:15a.m. - 12:30p.m; TuTh Read Hall (RE)2-120B
Discussion (6046); Fr 10:10a.m.-11:00a.m Read Hall (RE)2-120B
COGS Q240 Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science

This course aims to provide a synoptic view of many of the major
research programs in cognitive science. Grasping the differences
among these programs is at once a philosophical and historical task.
We will critically examine the foundational claims and ambitions of
symbol-processing, connectionist, dynamical and embodied approaches
to mind science (among others). Traditional philosophical debates
about the nature of mind, language and knowledge will be in the
immediate background. We will also learn about some of the pivotal
developments of the 20th c. in the fields of mathematics,
cybernetics, linguistics, psychology, artificial intelligence,
neuroscience and evolutionary biology that have played a significant
role in forming cognitive science as we see it pursued today.

There is plenty of debate about what cognitive science is---both in
practice and in its theoretical limits---and about what it might
become. Students will discuss and write about this debate. Here is
an example of the sorts of issues we will be concerned with.  On the
one hand, cognitive scientists seek to improve our understanding of
mind or cognition as a natural phenomenon.  On the other hand, they
construct models and machines which attempt to simulate or replicate
cognitive activity. These different orientations provoke some basic
questions: What constitutes a successful explanation in cognitive
science? And when is a simulation successful? Finally, how do these
questions and their answers relate to one another?