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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Perception and Action: From Inner Zombies to the Predictive Brain MSc (PHIL11126)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPhilosophy Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course examines conceptual issues arising from recent empirical work on the nature of perception and action. The topics include philosophical, psychological, neuroscientific, and computational perspectives on issues such as: What is perception, and how does perception relate to action? Is the picture of action as controlled by 'inner zombie systems' correct (and in what ways, if any, would that affect our views of action and of conscious control)? What does change-blindness really suggest about our knowledge of the visual scene? Does 'sensorimotor contingency theory' offer an adequate account of perception? Is sensory substitution (the use of one modality, such as touch, to replace another, such as vision) possible? What is the role of prediction in the construction of perception and action? What is attention, and how does it relate to conscious perceptual experience?

The course is scheduled to run twice in semester 2 with seperate seminars for postgraduate and undergraduate students. Postgraduate students must only attend the seminar scheduled on the timetable for postgraduate students, not the undergraduate version.

Taught by Prof Andy Clark.

Formative feedback available;
- opportunity to submit formative essay by week 6 deadline
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information The course is scheduled to run twice in semester 2. Postgraduate students must only attend the seminar scheduled for postgraduate students on the postgraduate timetable, not the undergraduate version.
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should gain:

- A sound understanding of some of the main conceptual issues arising from recent empirical work on the nature of perception and action;

- An ability to think and write critically and knowledgeably about these themes.

- An ability to present their ideas and arguments in informal discussion and by oral presentation in the seminars.
Assessment Information
2500 word essay

Assignment deadline: Monday 14th April 2014 by 12 noon
Word limit: 2500 words maximum
Return deadline: Tuesday 6th May 2014
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1 ¿ Puzzles About Perceiving and Acting
Week 2 - Inner Zombies?
Week 3 - Change Blindness
Week 4 - Sensorimotor Contingency Theory
Week 5 ¿ Consciousness and Attention
Week 6 - Perception as Prediction
Week 7 - Imagination, Memory, and Simulation
Week 8 ¿ Illusions, Delusions, Hallucinations, and Dreaming
Week 9 ¿ Affordance Competition and The Continuity of Mind
Week 10 ¿ Do We Only Experience a Virtual Reality?
Week 11 ¿ Reflections: Rethinking Perception and Action
Transferable skills Argument, critical reading, structured essay writing
Reading list 1) General Collections
The Senses: Classic and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives
Edited by Fiona Macpherson (Oxford University Press, 2011)
Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays
Edited by Matthew Nudds and Casey O'Callaghan (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings.
Edited by David Chalmers (Oxford University Press, NY, 2002)
Enaction: Towards a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science
Edited by J. Stewart, O. Gapenne & E. Di Paolo (MIT Press, Camb. MA, 2010)
The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition.
Edited by P. Robbins and. M. Aydede (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

(2) Introductory Texts (to be sampled rather than followed in sequence)
A. Clark Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Second edition, 2013, Oxford University Press)
J. Bermúdez Philosophy of Psychology: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge, NY, 2005)
A. Noë Action in Perception (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004)
B. Bechtel Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on Cognitive Neuroscience.
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
T. Stafford and M. Webb Mind Hacks (O¿Reilly, CA, 2005)
R. Pfeifer and J. Bongard How the Body Shapes The Way We Think MIT Press, Camb. MA, 2007
J. Hohwy The Predictive Mind. (Oxford University Press, 2013).

(3) Sample papers
J.K. O¿Regan and A. Noë (2001) ¿A sensorimotor approach to vision and visual consciousness¿ Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24/5: 939-1031
R. Gregory ¿Perceptions as hypotheses¿ Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 290, 1980 p.181¿197
D. Knill & A. Pouget ¿The Bayesian brain: The role of uncertainty in neural coding and computation¿ Trends in Neuroscience 27(12): 2004 p.712¿19.
A. Clark ¿Whatever Next? Predictive Brains, Situated Agents, and the Future of Cognitive Science¿ in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (In Press, 2013)
K. Kveraga, A. Ghuman, and M. Bar, M ¿Top-down predictions in the cognitive brain¿ Brain and Cognition 65: 2007 p.145¿68.
W. Bechtel ¿From Responsive to Active Mechanisms¿ in W. Bechtel Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on Cognitive Neuroscience (Erlbaum, NY, 2008 p. 201-238).
M. Bar ¿The proactive brain: using analogies and associations to generate predictions¿ Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11: 7:2007 p.280-289
J. Hohwy, A, Roepstorff, and K. Friston ¿Predictive coding explains binocular rivalry: an epistemological review¿. Cognition 108 (3): 2008 p.687-701
J. Hohwy ¿Attention and conscious perception in the hypothesis testing brain¿ Frontiers in Psychology 3:96. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00096. 2012.
C. Eliasmith ¿How to build a brain: From function to implementation¿ Synthese 153(3): 2007 p. 373¿88
R. Grush ¿The emulation theory of representation: Motor control, imagery, and perception¿. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27:2004: p. 377¿442
G. Hinton ¿Learning multiple layers of representation.¿Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11:2007 p. 428¿34;
J. McClelland, M. Botvinick, D. Noelle, D. Plaut, D., T. Rogers, M. Seidenberg. & L. Smith ¿Letting structure emerge: connectionist and dynamical systems approaches to cognition¿ Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14(8): 2010 p.348¿56
T. Griffiths, N. Chater, C. Kemp, A. Perfors, and J. Tenenbaum ¿Probabilistic models of cognition: Exploring representations and inductive biases¿. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14(8): 2010 p. 357-364)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Andrew Clark
Tel: (0131 6)50 3659
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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