What is our role in the universe as human agents capable of knowledge? What makes us intelligent cognitive agents seemingly endowed with consciousness? This is the second part of the course 'Philosophy and the Sciences', dedicated to Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences. Scientific research across the cognitive sciences has raised pressing questions for philosophers. The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the main areas and topics at the key juncture between philosophy and the cognitive sciences.
Each week we will introduce you to some of these important questions at the forefront of scientific research. We will explain the science behind each topic in a simple, non-technical way, while also addressing the philosophical and conceptual questions arising from it. Areas you’ll learn about will include:
- Philosophy of cosmology, where we’ll consider questions about the origin and evolution of our universe, the nature of dark energy and dark matter and the role of anthropic reasoning in the explanation of our universe.
- Philosophy of psychology, among whose issues we will cover the evolution of the human mind and the nature of consciousness.
- Philosophy of neurosciences, where we’ll consider the nature of human cognition and the relation between mind, machines, and the environment.
-Gain a fairly well-rounded view on selected areas and topics at the intersection of philosophy and the sciences
- Understand some key questions, and conceptual problems arising in the cognitive sciences.
- Develop critical skills to evaluate and assess these problems.
Philosophy and the Sciences Part 1
This course is the second part of the joint course 'Philosophy and the Sciences'. If you want to go to the first part of the course, 'Philosophy and the Physical Sciences' follow the link below
Stone-age minds in modern skulls: evolutionary theory and the philosophy of mind (Suilin Lavelle and Kenny Smith)
Scientists agree that our brains are a product of natural selection. How did human brains and human cognitive structures evolve ?
Graded: Week 1 Quiz: Do our modern skulls house stone-age minds?
What is consciousness? (Mark Sprevak and David Carmel)
Why do creatures with brains like ours have consciousness? What makes certain bits of our mental life conscious and others not?
Graded: Week 2 Quiz: What is consciousness?
Intelligent machines and the human brain (Mark Sprevak and Peggy Series)
How does one make a clever adaptive machine that can recognise speech, control an aircraft, and detect credit card fraud?
Graded: Week 3 Quiz: From intelligent machines to the human brain
Embodied cognition (Andy Clark and Barbara Webb)
Embodied cognition is all about the huge difference that having an active body and being situated in a structured environment make to the kind of tasks that the brain has to perform in order to support adaptive success.
Graded: Week 4 Quiz: Embodied cognition and the sciences of the mind
This course examines how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change. Are we still in modernity, or have we moved beyond the modern to the postmodern?
This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy.
This course examines how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change.
Faced with difficult questions people often tend to dismiss and marginalize dissent. Political and moral disagreements can be incredibly polarizing, and sometimes even dangerous. And whether it’s Christian fundamentalism, Islamic extremism, or militant atheism, religious dialogue remains tinted by arrogance, dogma, and ignorance. The world needs more people who are sensitive to reasons both for and against their beliefs, and are willing to consider the possibility that their political, religious and moral beliefs might be mistaken. The world needs more intellectual humility.
Think along with Classical Chinese masters as they explore and debate how and where we can find ethical guidance in nature. We make ethical or behaviour guiding right / wrong judgments all the time but have you ever wondered where Ethics comes from, what it is about and why it is important? This course provides an introduction to traditional Chinese ethical thought and focuses on the pervasive contrast in the way Chinese and Westerners think about ethical guidance or guidance concerning what is right and what is wrong, good or bad.
What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists.
In this course we will discuss the history of some ideas that have been hugely influential in the modern west and that were taken out to the rest of the world. The discussion centers on an extraordinary and historically important figure, a sixteenth century German man named Martin Luther. Luther is recognized today as the originator of many of the most significant ideas that continue to affect and shape who we as modern people are and how we see the world and ourselves for better and for worse.
Philosophy, Science and Religion mark three of the most fundamental modes of thinking about the world and our place in it. Are these modes incompatible? Put another way: is the intellectually responsible thing to do to ‘pick sides’ and identify with one of these approaches at the exclusion of others? Or, are they complementary or mutually supportive? As is typical of questions of such magnitude, the devil is in the details. For example, it is important to work out what is really distinctive about each of these ways of inquiring about the world. In order to gain some clarity here, we’ll be investigating what some of the current leading thinkers in philosophy, science and religion are actually doing.
MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – enable students around the world to take university courses online. This guide, by the instructors of edX’s most successful MOOC in 2013-2014, Principles of Written English (based on both enrollments and rate of completion), advises current and future students how to get the most out of their online study, covering areas such as what types of courses are offered and who offers them, what resources students need, how to register, how to work effectively with other students, how to interact with professors and staff, and how to handle assignments. This second edition offers a new chapter on how to stay motivated. This book is suitable for both native and non-native speakers of English, and is applicable to MOOC classes on any subject (and indeed, for just about any type of online study).