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Minds & Machines (NCHAI750)

15 Credits

ThisĀ  course investigates the ontological, epistemological and methodological dimensions of issues that emerge in relation to systems that exhibit intelligent behaviour, whether these are biological or artificial. Students will learn about the main theories of mind and of the way these theories enrich our understanding and design of intelligent machines. Conversely, students will consider how advances in artificial intelligence seek to throw light on the human mind.

In more detail, the course will address questions such as:

(1) What is the correct theory of mind? (2) Do mental states reduce to brain states? (3) Does the mind extend beyond the confines of our heads? (4) What is computation? (5) Does the mind compute in a similar way to machines? (6) Under what conditions can we say that a physical system computes? (7) What is intelligence? (8) Is thinking more than mere intelligence? (9) Can we standardise intelligence tests for both machines and humans? (10) Are we also machines of some sort? (11) What can we know about the world around us? (12) Is the universe just a massive computer simulation?

Taught by members of the faculty of philosophy, Minds & MachinesĀ  is delivered through interactive lectures, seminars and tutorials, and it is assessed by a 4000-word essay.

Indicative Topics

  • General theories of mind
  • Extended cognition
  • Computationalism
  • Human and machine Intelligence
  • The Turing Test
  • Transhumanism
  • Scepticism and computer simulations

Related Degrees

The following degrees contain this course: