24.119 Mind and Machines, Spring 2005
Mind and Machines
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Examination of problems in the intersection of artificial intelligence, psychology, and philosophy. Issues discussed: whether people are Turing Machines, whether computers can be conscious, limitations on what computers can do, computation and neurophysiology, the Turing test, the analog/digital distinction, the Chinese Room argument, the causal efficacy of content, the inverted spectrum, mental representation, procedural semantics, connectionism, the relation between simulation and explanation, and whether some aspects of mentality are more resistant to programming than others. From the course home page: Course Description This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in a branch of philosophy called philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?
artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy, Turing Machines, consciousness, computer limitations, computation, neurophysiology, Turing test, the analog/digital distinction, Chinese Room argument, causal efficacy of content, inverted spectrum, mental representation, procedural semantics, connectionism, Philosophy of mind