This course introduces students to the idea that the mind is a computational device. Computational models dominate modern psychology. Computational models appear to offer the tantalising prospect of explaining how the mind works. These models raise numerous foundational philosophical questions. They also appear to have the potential to contribute to, and perhaps even answer, long-standing philosophical questions about the mind.
This course does not assume prior knowledge of computational modelling techniques or cognitive science.
The class meets every week for 11 weeks for a 2-hour session.
The sessions are a mixture of lecture and discussion. In advance of class, students are expected to have read the essential readings and posted on the course’s online discussion forum. In class, we discuss the readings and explore responses to them.
Computation appears to be our best hope for explaining how the mind works. Over the past forty years, computational models have scored numerous successes in explaining various mental phenomena. The course introduces the computational approach to the mind and explores some foundational questions and challenges that it faces.
Topics covered by the course include: