Minds and Machines (edX)

Minds and Machines (edX)
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Minds and Machines (edX)
An introduction to philosophy of mind, exploring consciousness, reality, AI, and more. The most in-depth philosophy course available online. What is the relationship between the mind and the body? Can computers think? Do we perceive reality as it is? Can there be a science of consciousness?

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This course explores these questions and others. It is a thorough, rigorous introduction to contemporary philosophy of mind.

According to many scientists and philosophers, explaining the nature of consciousness is the deepest intellectual challenge of all. If you find consciousness at all puzzling, this is a great place to start learning more.




What you'll learn:

- The basics of argumentation

- Some central arguments for and against the view that a sufficiently powerful computer can think (AI)

- The main theories of mental states and their relations to physical states

- Some central arguments for and against the view that the world is not as we perceive it to be

- What the "hard problem of consciousness" is


Syllabus


Overview. This class is an introduction to philosophy of mind. Here are some of the questions we’ll

be thinking about:

- Are you an “immaterial soul”, distinct from your brain and body?

- Alternatively, are you simply a material or physical animal, living in an entirely physical world?

- If we (somehow) made a brain that was a perfect molecule-for-molecule replica of your brain,

and (somehow) kept it alive in a tank, would the tank-creature have the same mental life as you?

- Do we see ordinary physical objects like lemons and iPhones? And assuming that we do see them at all, do we see them as they really are?

- Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?


Schedule.

Part 1 – Minds and Computers

Lecture 1: Introduction

Lecture 2: The Chinese Room

Lecture 3: The Chinese Room, Continued; Arguments

Lecture 4: The Chinese Room, Continued

Lecture 5: Turing Machines and the Turing Test

Lecture 6: The Turing Test

Assessment 1: First Argument Analysis (10%)

Part 2 – From Dualism to Functionalism

Lecture 7: Dualism

Lecture 8: Dualism, Continued

Lecture 9: Behaviorism

Lecture 10: The Identity Theory

Lecture 11: The Identity Theory, Continued

Lecture 12: Kripke’s Objection

Lecture 13: Functionalism

Lecture 14: Functionalism, Continued

Assessment 2: Midterm Exam (30%)

Part 3 – Minds and Brains

Lecture 15: Knowledge

Lecture 16: Belief

Lecture 17: Belief, Continued

Part 4 – Perception

Lecture 18: Perception

Lecture 19: The Argument from Illusion, and Color Perception

Lecture 20: Color

Assessment 3: Second Argument Analysis (10%)

Part 5 – Consciousness

Lecture 21: Color, Continued; Nagel on Bats

Lecture 22: Nagel on Bats, Continued; the Knowledge Argument

Lecture 23: The Knowledge Argument, Continued; Chalmers’ Dualism

Lecture 24: Chalmers’ Dualism, Continued; Tye on Transparency

Lecture 25: Consciousness Wrap-Up

Assessment 4: Final Exam (50%)



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