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

Postgraduate Course: Theories of Mind (Philosophy MSc) (PHIL11021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines selected conceptual and theoretical issues in the Philosophy of Mind, particularly with respect to computationalism and physicalism.

Shared with undergraduate course Theories of Mind (Philosophy Hons) PHIL10024.

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description What is a mind, what are the essential characteristics distinguishing mental from non-mental systems? Two key features traditionally offered in response to this question are (1) representational content: mental states can be about external objects and states of affairs, they can represent and bear content or meaning; (2) conscious experience: only minds are consciously aware and have subjective, qualitative experiences, roughly, there is something it is like to be a mind. A central aim of the course will be to examine the extent to which these two features can be captured or explained by computational and/or physicalist methods, and to explore some of the conceptual issues basic to Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence as theoretical approaches to the mind.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts and evaluate arguments.
  2. understand and engage with key issues in the philosophy of mind, particularly with respect to computational theories of the mind
  3. exercise critical, analytic and communication skills developed via oral participation in seminars.
  4. deploy their skills in individual research through development of an essay topic and selection/exploration of a body of relevant academic literature.
  5. exercise written communication skills enhanced by developing and articulating their own critical ideas in response to research literature.
Reading List
Core Syllabus Topics

Turing and the Computational Paradigm
Searle and the Chinese Room
Dennett and Intentional Systems
Fodor and the Language of Thought
Putnam and Semantic Externalism
The Boundaries of the Mind
Physicalism and the Problem of Consciousness
Non-classical Paradigms

Recommended references:
[1] Lycan, W. and J. Prinz, Mind and Cognition, Third Edition,
Blackwell Publishers.
[2] Chalmers, D., Philosophy of Mind, OUP.
[3] Haugeland, J., Mind Design II, MIT Press.

Prioritized Reading List and all assigned reading material available on Learn.
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn page
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to analyse philosophical arguments
Ability to articulate and defend positions in a philosophical debate
Reading, understanding and critically engaging with complex texts; critical thinking; constructive oral engagement; essay writing an enhanced verbal and written communication skills.
Additional Class Delivery Information Taught by Dr Paul Schweizer
KeywordsComputational Paradigm,Mental Content,Physicalism,Problem of Consciousness
Contacts
Course organiserDr Paul Schweizer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2704
Email: paul@inf.ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
Email: Lynsey.Buchanan@ed.ac.uk
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