Sei sulla pagina 1di 4

COGS Q240 Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science

Spring 2014

(Subject to Revision)


Ruth Eberle, Ph.D. Eigenmann Hall 801

Nicholas Zautra Office hours: TBA and by appointment


Office hours: TBA and by appointment

Times and Locations

MW 9:30 10:45AM Read Hall 2-120B (Section 17233)

F 12:20 1:10PM

Rose Avenue Hall B109 (Section 17234)

Subject Matter

Cognitive Science emerged almost 60 years ago from developments in philosophy, computer science, psychology, and linguistics. Central to this emergence were new ideas about how minds could be understood in computational terms: the computational theory of mind. The belief that intelligence could be understood in terms of physical processing of symbolic representations served to unite artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology under a common philosophical framework, and it was believed that computers with human-level capacities would be rapidly achieved. Progress in artificial intelligence, however, has been much slower than anticipated, and developments in neuroscience, in artificial neural networks, and in dynamical and evolutionary approaches to cognition and robotics, have caused some to question whether cognitive science should remain committed to the computational theory of mind. In this course, students will learn about the original promise of the computational theory, and how it provided an alternative to earlier philosophical and scientific views about the relationship between mind and body. We will go on to consider the debate about whether evolutionary, embodied, and dynamical systems approaches to cognitive science amount to an overthrow of its traditional symbolic- representationalist core as well as providing a philosophical challenge to our deep-seated conception of ourselves as human agents with rational beliefs.


Andy Clark's Mindware 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press (Bring to every class and discussion period.)

Bring a copy of the current weeks’ primary source readings (see below) to every class and discussion period.

Assignments and Grading

This course is designated Intensive Writing (IW). There are no scheduled examinations, but there are responses to readings, in class assignments, and six formal pieces of writing required.

The writing assignments are tightly integrated with the main class content, so attendance at all three meetings each week is important. Attendance will be taken.


% for the IW assignments, distributed as follows. (Due dates subject to change.) IW-1, due Friday, 1/31, 10 % IW-2, due Friday, 2/21, 15 % IW-3 draft, due Friday, 3/14, 5 % IW-3, due Friday, 3/28, 10 % IW-4, due Friday, 4/18, 15 % IW-5, due Friday, 5/9, 15 %


% for responses to readings, including in-class assignments which may not be announced in

advance. 5 % for attendance and participation in discussions during class time and discussion periods

All written work will be turned into Oncourse.


Week 1

January 13

What is (Philosophy of Cognitive Science?

Mindware: Preface, Introduction, Appendix 1, Chapter 1

Week 2

January 20

Symbol Systems Newell and Simon Strong AI

Mindware: Section 2.1


Week 3

January 27


Mindware: Chapter 2 Section 2.2

Chinese Room

Searle (1980) "Minds, Brains, and Programs"

Week 4

February 3

Mental Maps

Shepard & Metzler (1971) "Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects"

Week 5

February 10

Folk Psychology

Mindware: Chapter 3

Week 6

February 17


Dennett (1981) "True believers"


Week 7

February 24


Descartes (1641) Meditations 1 and 2


Hume (1777) Enquiry sections 2 and 3 (skip secs. 1, 4, and 5)


Week 8

March 3




Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Functionalism (html)

Week 9

March 10


Mindware, Chapter 4


Week 10

March 24

Evolutionary Robotics

Harvey et al. (2005) "Evolutionary Robotics:



Week 11

March 31

Embodied Cognition

Week 12

April 7

Extended Mind

Clark, A. and D. J. Chalmers (1998) "The Extended Mind"

Week 13

April 14

Dynamical Systems

Mindware, Chapter 7


Week 14

April 21

Dynamical Systems

van Gelder (1995) "What might cognition be



Week 15

April 28

Issues of Interest


Statement for Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the IU Disability Services Office.

Statement about Academic Misconduct

University rules concerning academic misconduct will be rigorously enforced in this class. See the IU Code of Ethics for details.