Cognitive Science | Phil. foundations of the Cognitive and Information Sciences
Q540 | 13318 | J. Weinberg

Cognitive Science ,  Philosophical Foundations of the Cognitive and
Information Sciences
Q540 ,  13318 ,  J. Weinberg
2:30PM  3:45PM.  MoWe   RM. SY 022

This course examines the motivations and challenges shaping the
cognitive sciences' multi-disciplinary attack on questions about the
nature of mental information processing.  The major goal of the
course is to understand how philosophical arguments and empirical
investigation have shaped each other and lead to new conceptions of
mind, and of the methods for investigating the mind.  We will focus
on three areas of philosophical and scientific controversy: (i) the
debate between the 'classical' computational/representational/GOFAI
framework for explanation in cognitive science, and various
challenges to it from embodied, extended, and dynamical approaches;
(ii) the status of "innateness" as an explanatory concept, most
particularly (but not
only) in the domain of language acquisition; and (iii) the
acceptability of different forms of normative constraints on
theorizing, such as rationality assumptions, the
performance/competence distinction, and adaptationist strategies in
evolutionary psychology.
We will also try to adapt the exact set of course readings to
reflect the particular set of backgrounds and interests of those
enrolled in the course.

Students will be required to do weekly or near-weekly short (about 2-
3pages) writing assignments, which will be posted online; to
participate in both classroom and online discussions of the readings
& of their classmates' writing; and to write their choice of either
one full-length (20 - 30 pages) term paper or a series of three
shorter papers (8 - 12 pages).