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

Undergraduate Course: Philosophy of Language Models and Virtual Worlds (PHIL10241)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course is about the nature of creativity, intelligence, linguistic knowledge, consciousness, and virtual (as opposed to physical) reality. But it explores these themes through the various discussions of language models and virtual worlds that have recently captured public attention.
Course description What is creativity? What is intelligence? What is linguistic knowledge? What is consciousness? Could a language model (a computer system trained to predict appropriate text-based responses, e.g., ChatGPT) be creative? intelligent? linguistically competent? conscious? Could a virtual entity? How do these recent technologies bear on some of the core subjects in the philosophy of language and mind? Students can expect to read the most recent philosophical work on these issues, and to develop their skills in real-time discussions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Logic 1 (PHIL08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A background in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind or metaphysics at honours level is recommended.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Documentary video presentation 40%
Final essay 60%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Articulate and defend views about the philosophical significance of language models and virtual reality, among other closely related topics.
  2. Develop a long-term research project.
Reading List
Making AI Intelligible, by Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever
Reality+, by David Chalmers
Kinds of Minds, by Daniel Dennett
'Modern Language Models Refute Chomsky┬┐s Approach to Language', by Steven Piantadosi
'(What) Can Deep Learning Contribute to Theoretical Linguistics?', Gabe Dupre
'What Might Machines Mean?', by Mitch Green and Jan Michel
'In Conversation with Artificial Intelligence: Aligning Language Models with Human Values', by Atoosa Kasirzadeh and Iason Gabriel
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skilled communication
Creative and critical thinking
Research and inquiry skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Mahrad Almotahari
Tel: (0131 6)67 7290
Course secretary
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