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

Postgraduate Course: The Computational Mind MSc (PHIL11115)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryComputation appears to be our best hope for explaining how the mind works. Over the past forty years, computational models have scored numerous successes in explaining various mental phenomena. Today, computation dominates cognitive science. This course introduces the computational approach to the mind and explores some foundational questions and challenges that it faces.

The Computational Mind MSc is also shared with the undergraduate version The Computational Mind (PHIL10134).

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 Topics covered by the course include:

- What is a computation?
- If the mind is a computer, what kind is it?
- Is computation a real feature of brain, or a projection of our
- Can consciousness be explained by computation?
- Are cognitive computations in the brain or do they spill into the environment?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  8
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Weekly participation by writing online forum posts (20%)
2. End-of-semester essay of 3,000 words (80%) (hard limit on word count)

Word limit: 3000 maximum (excluding references)
Feedback Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay by week 6 deadline on Turnitin via Learn. The essay cannot be draft of summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. analyse the core philosophical issues involved in, and challenges faced by, computational theories of mind
  2. demonstrate familiarity with some examples of computational models
  3. understand the philosophical and scientific methodologies in computational modelling
  4. express arguments clearly and concisely
  5. gain skills in research, analysis and argumentation
Reading List
1. A. Clark. Mindware: An Introduction to Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2 edition, 2014.
2. T. Crane. The Mechanical Mind. Routledge, London, 3rd edition, 2016.
3. J. Haugeland. Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1985.

A complete reading list, with readings for each week, is on Learn.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Reading, understanding and critically engaging with complex texts
- Critical thinking
- Constructive oral engagement
- Interdisciplinary thinking
- Evaluating arguments and theories
- Constructive oral engagement
- Working to deadlines
- Ability to articulate and defend positions in a debate
KeywordsComputation; Philosophy; Mind; Consciousness; Externalism
Course organiserDr Mark Sprevak
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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