- Code PHIL3076
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Philosophy
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Philosophy
- Areas of interest Philosophy, Psychology, Evolution and Ecology, Biology
- Academic career UGRD
- Robert Farquharson
- Mode of delivery In Person
First Semester 2024
See Future Offerings
This advanced undergraduate course introduces students to philosophical research in philosophy of the life sciences, including philosophy of biology, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of neuroscience. It is suitable for students who have a strong background in philosophy. What is taught will change from year to year.
The topic for 2024 will be Philosophy of Cognitive Science.
What is intelligence? Surely, animals can think. But what is thinking, if not the spooky action of an immaterial soul? How can we scientifically study the mind? Cognitive Science is a multidisciplinary field that answers these questions, and for most of its history did so with resounding consensus: the mind is furnished by internal representations, and intelligence involves computing over those representations. That consensus has frayed in recent years, with new approaches emerging.
The course will be split into three sections. The first half covers the fundamentals of cognitive science, how it evolved as a distinct scientific discipline, and the consensus view. With the ‘Computational Theory of Mind’ as our foundation, we will learn how to model the brain using Turing-machines and neural network models. The second module engages with contemporary research programmes that, to various extents, argue against the consensus view. They argue the mind is inextricably linked with the body and the world, and so the dynamic interplay between them is the key to cognition. The final module situates intelligence in a broader evolutionary context. We will see minds and brains on a natural continuum: intelligence is diverse and subject to natural forces, just like any other biological phenomenon. Ultimately, we will learn
- multiple ways of understanding the relationship between minds and brains, and
- how to place intelligence in the natural world.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- analyse philosophical positions relating to philosophy of the life sciences;
- synthesise novel arguments to extend philosophical positions to new empirical domains in the life sciences;
- conduct philosophical research and effectively integrate and organize concepts and arguments to defend a position; and
- dispute and evaluate philosophical ideas verbally and to engage in interactive dialogue.
- Two x 2,500 word written assessments (40% each) (80) [LO 1,2,3]
- Class participation (10) [LO 1,2,4]
- Class presentation (10 minutes) (10) [LO 1,2,4]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed readings will be made available via Wattle.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class start date
|Last day to enrol
|Class end date
|Mode Of Delivery
|Philosophy of Cognitive Science
|19 Feb 2024
|26 Feb 2024
|05 Apr 2024
|24 May 2024