Lectures: Wednesday 15-18, Oudemanhuispoort D118d
Office Hours: by appointment
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 15, Room W-2.25
"Wir sollten die Dinge so einfach wie möglich machen, aber nicht einfacher"
This course is an introduction into the unusually active and exciting area of Cognitive Philosophy. It covers many of the central issues currently debated in the field including the problem of mental representation, the nature of meaning and truth, the relationship between symbolism and connectionism, the concept of consciousness, language and experience (the Sapir-Whorf-Hypothesis). In the areas under discussion philosophical work on the nature of mind is continuous with scientific work in Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, and Neuroscience. Hence, the course is interdisciplinary in character. The intention is to present the problems (and solutions) in a way that is accessible for those without a formal background in philosophy.
General Introduction: Philosophy and Philosophising
Schedule for Part 2
Representation and content
Presentation T. Dekker: Concepts
Consciousness I: The philosophical relevance of Benjamin Libet's experiments
Benjamin Libet: Do we have free will? [650KB,
Libet takes an experimental approach to this question. This article is a good example for what can be called "Experimental Philosophy"
Consciousness I, continued
Presentation I.-M. Dimmitriou: Free Will
Consciousness II: The explanatory gap
Presentation G. Lacerda: Explanatory Gap
Presentation J. Dorling: The Knowledge Argument
Thomas Nagel: What is it like to be a bat? Philosophical
Review 4:435-50, 1974 [html]
David J. Chalmers: Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness [70KB, pdf]
This paper gives a nontechnical overview of the problems of consciousness and Chalmer's approach to them. In it C. distinguishes between the easy problems and the hard problem of consciousness, and argues that the hard problem eludes conventional methods of explanation. C. argues that we need a new form of nonreductive explanation, and make some moves toward a detailed nonreductive theory. This paper, based on a talk C. gave at the 1994 Tucson conference on consciousness, appeared in a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies in 1995, and also in the 1996 collection Toward a Science of Consciousness, edited by Hameroff, Kaszniak
Consciousness II, continued
Presentation H. Ballieux: The False Belief Task
Presentation B. Hagerty: Knowledge of Other Minds
Presentation G. de Vries: Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
Consciousness III: What is the self?
Presentation W. Blokdijk: Self-representation
Patricia S. Churchland: Self-Representation in Nervous
Systems [70KB, pdf]
"The brain’s earliest self-representational capacities arose as evolution found neural network solutions for coordinating and regulating inner-body signals, thereby improving behavioral strategies. Additional flexibility in organizing coherent behavioral options emerges from neural models that represent some of the brain’s inner states as states of its body, while representing other signals as perceptions of the external world. Brains manipulate inner models to predict the distinct consequences in the external world of distinct behavioral options. The self thus turns out to be identifiable not with a nonphysical soul, but rather with a set of representational capacities of the physical brain."
The computational mind
Presentation R. Isarfaty: Why people think computers can't
Presentation T. van Kasteren: Brains as digital computers?
Presentation S. de Jager: Searle’s Chinese room thought experiment
Presentation R. van Hoolwerff: QM and consciousness
Alan Turing: Computing machinery and intelligence [html]
The classical proposal of how to consider the question, 'Can machines think?' (also called the Turing test)
John R. Searle: Minds, Brains, and Programs [html]
John Searle's (1980) thought experiment is one of the best known and widely credited counters to claims of artificial intelligence (AI), i.e., to claims that computers do or at least can (someday might) think. According to Searle's original presentation, the argument is based on two truths: brains cause minds, and syntax doesn't suffice for semantics. Its target, Searle dubs "strong AI": "according to strong AI," according to Searle, "the computer is not merely a tool in the study of the mind, rather the appropriately programmed computer really is a mind in the sense that computers given the right programs can be literally said to understand and have other cognitive states" . Searle contrasts "strong AI" to "weak AI". According to weak AI, according to Searle, computers just simulate thought, their seeming understanding isn't real (just as-if) understanding, their seeming calculation as-if calculation, etc.; nevertheless, computer simulation is useful for studying the mind (as for studying the weather and other things).
November 26: NO COURSE
Symbolism & Connectionism
Presentation Andrew Buchan: The language of thought hypothesis
Presentation: G. Krimp: Connectionism and cognitive architecture
Language and experience
Presentation Jan Grue: Linguistic relativism
Presentation Charles Spencer: The myth of Jones (Sellars)
Presentation Tim van Oosterhout: Embodied Cognition (working title; possibly this presentation will be shifted to December 10)
Jerry A. Fodor and Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Connectionism and Cognitive Architecture: A Critical Analysis [170KB, pdf]
Paul Kay & Willett Kempton, What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis? [200KB, pdf]
Dreams, Hallucinations, Buddhism, and the embodied mind
Presentation Dechen Albero: Tibetan Buddhism and the embodied mind
Presentation David M.Baraznji Sassoon: Can the mind be ill?