Cognitive Science 180: Syllabus


INSTRUCTOR: Larry Hauser



Office: SAC 350 Phone: 7028

 Hours: TuTh 4:00-5:00

MATERIALS: Required Text: Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind; Course Packet.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Minds are something we all have and think we discern in others. But which others? (Who does "we" here include?) Not only is it a slippery slope from professor to paramecium to paperweight, but there are other candidates -- from collectives (e.g., nations and corporations) to the cosmos itself -- besides. Besides and beyond: thought has seemed, to one or another thinker, to be lodged in things as disparate as disembodied spirits and silicon circuitry. The question of where we discern it, leads, unavoidably to the question of just what it is we discern -- or think we discern -- when we speak "mind", or "thought", or "intelligence". Unfortunately, the concept of mind has proved as scientifically intractable as it seems humanly (morally, legally, socially, and practically) ineliminable and important. After seeing how the general theoretical or metaphysical issue of the nature of thought (or mind) arises in the context of contemporary disputes over the existence and possibility of artificial intelligence, we pursue this question -- along with related semantic questions about the meaning of "mind" and "thinking" -- through a close (and hopefully contentious) reading of Gilbert Ryle's classic The Concept of Mind. This work, though importantly precursory to cognitive science, is still, in some ways, profoundly at odds with the mainstream of contemporary cognitive scientific thinking.

GRADES, ETC.: After some initial lecture and discussion (weeks 1-3) the class will be run as a seminar. At each class session one or more student papers will be presented by their authors, with other students offering prepared commentaries on the principal work(s) presented, followed by class discussion. Grades will be based on these papers, commentaries, and presentations; other short written assignments (abstracts and synopses); and contribution to class discussion.


 week 1 (1/8-1/12): Minds, Other Minds, and Machines (Course Packet: Hauser 1994)

 week 2 (1/15-1/19): The Turing Test, AI, & Behaviorism (Course Packet: Turing 1950)

 week 3 (1/22-1-26): Zombies, Qualia, and Cognition (Course Packet: Hauser 1995)

 week 4 (1/29-2/2): Descartes' Myth (Ryle, Chapt. 1)

 week 5 (2/5-2/9): Knowing How and Knowing That (Ryle, Chapt. 2)

 week 6: (2/12-2/16): The Will (Ryle, Chapt. 3)

 SPRING BREAK (2/24-3/3)

 week 7: (2/19-2/23): Emotion (Ryle, Chapt. 4)

 week 8: (3/4-3/8): Dispositions and Occurrences (Ryle, Chapt. 5)

 week 9: (3/11-3/15): Self-Knowledge (Ryle, Chapt. 6)

 week 10 (3/18-3/22): Sensation and Observation (Ryle, Chapt. 7)

 week 11 (3/25-3/29): Imagination (Ryle, Chapt. 8)

 week 12 (4/1-4/5): The Intellect (Ryle, Chapt. 9)

 week 13 (4/8-4/12): Psychology (Ryle, Chapt. 10)

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