COGS Q540 — Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive and Information Science
Meeting time: MW 9:30-10:45; Location: PY 113 (Psychology Building)
Instructor: Colin Allen, PhD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Office / Telephone: [Eigenmann 804 / 856-3868] and [Goodbody 113 / 855-8916]
Office hours: [Mon 11-12 in EG 804] [Wed 11-12 PY 128] and [Thu/Fri by appointment in GB 113]
The cognitive sciences began with great enthusiasm for the prospects of a successful multi-disciplinary attack on the mind. This enthusiasm was fueled by the faith that computational ideas could put flesh on abstract notions of mental representation, providing the means to make good physical sense of questions about the nature of mental information processing. The challenges of understanding how minds work have turned out to be much greater than many of the early enthusiasts predicted — in fact they have turned out to be so great that many (especially here at IU) have argued that we need new paradigms to replace the standard computationalist-representationalist assumptions of traditional cognitive science. This course aims to provide an understanding of the philosophical issues underlying this discussion and to apply this understanding to a specific cutting edge topic. For Fall 2006 that issue will be the nature of emotions and their role in cognition.
By the end of this course you should have broad knowledge of the history, philosophy and major concepts and trends in cognitive science, along with an appreciation for the philosophical issues that motivated the emergence of cognitive science and underlie the controversies within it. By the end of the course you should have the ability to read works written for professional academic cognitive scientists and philosophers of cognitive science, and to summarize them accurately both orally and in writing using your own words. You should also be able to relate foundational issues in cognitive science to your own research interests.
Grades will be based on performance in the following four categories:
* Minimally: What you read from the reading schedule, any other articles you read, talks you went to, or other things you heard about about that related to course topics, and a list of any outstanding questions, problems, or interesting ideas arising from class or these other sources.
** Oral participation may also be gauged by an oral exam to be scheduled at the instructor's discretion during finals week.
Schedule of Readings and Presentations
This schedule may be altered in response to events in class.
COGS Colloquia are at 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
* Author of Sep 20 reading.
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University rules concerning academic misconduct will be rigorously enforced in this class. See IU Code of Ethics, Part II for details.