Philosophy of Mind, PHIL-UA 80, Fall 2020
Lectures on Zoom, sections hybrid
Lecture: TR 4:55 PM-6:10 PM
See Classes for the Zoom address for each class
If this does not work, there is a link on the Classes zoom tab
All sections are blended
Cristina Ballarini, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: Mondays, 10 AM-11 AM
and by appointment
W 4:55-6:10 (SILV_208; T 9:30-10:45 (5WP_601,)
Zoom link for office hours
Rebecca Keller, email@example.com
Office hours Mondays, 3-4, or by appointment
W 2-3:15 (5WP_601); W 3:30-4:45 (5WP_601)
Zoom link for office hours
This course examines the conflict between computational and biological approaches to the mind. Is the mind the software of the brain or to be found more in the hardware? Topics covered this semester will be: whether a machine could think or be conscious, the Turing Test, John Searle's arguments against artificial intelligence, whether thinking could be symbol processing, mental imagery, arguments that artificial intelligence is not possible, the inverted spectrum, functional role semantics, whether there is a self, whether the mind is just in the head or partly in the body and the world and whether there is more capacity in consciousness than in cognition. The emphasis will be on whether computational and biological approaches are complementary or whether they conflict; that is, whether the mind is fundamentally computational or whether it is fundamentally neural or whether it can be fundamentally both.
ATTENTION: The final examination will be in class on Thursday, December 10th, the last class. Actually, there will be two final examinations so as to accommodate students in different time zones. Both finals will have 10 questions, of which the student should answer any 7. One examination will be sent to all students via Classes at 4:55 PM EDT on December 10th. Those who are doing this exam must submit it via Classes by 6:10 PM EDT unless an arrangement has been made with the Moses Center for a longer period. Submitting it late will result in a decrease in the grade in proportion to the degree of lateness. Make sure that you have internet access that will allow returning the completed exam in time. Those who have trouble submitting via Classes can send their exam to their Preceptor (Rebecca Keller or Cristina Ballarini) by email. Another exam will be emailed at 9:00 AM EDT the next morning, Friday December 11th to be submitted by 10:15 AM EDT. Those who did not do the 4:55 PM exam on Thursday must do the 9:00 AM exam on Friday. All answers must be in your own words and not copied from another source.
No late papers. If you miss the deadline for one assignment, just do another.
Assignments are posted on the class web site. Slides are posted on Classes after each lecture. Please submit your assignments electronically on Classes by 8 PM EDT on the due date. If you have problems with Classes, send your paper by email to Cristina Ballarini or Rebecca Keller. Put your student number on your paper but not your name so that assignments can be graded anonymously.
More information on assignments and grading can be found below in the section Requirements, Rules and Grading
Read Jim Pryor's advice on writing a philosophy paper, Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper
All assignments are due by 8:00 PM New York time on the date due. DUE DATES MAY BE MOVED LATER DEPENDING ON OUR PROGRESS
Assignment 1: The Turing Test (Due Thursday, September 10th) This assignment is now due Tuesday, September 15th because of a problem with posting the video of Tuesday's class.
Assignment 2: The Blockhead (Due Thursday, September 17th)
Assignment 3: Searle's Chinese Room (Due Thursday, September 24th)
Assignment 4: Functional Role Semantics (Due Thursday, October 1st)
Assignment 5: Searle's Wall Argument (Due Thursday, October 8th)
Assignment 6: GPT-3 (Due Tuesday, October 20th)
Assignment 7: Iconic Representation (Due Tuesday, October 27th)
Assignment 8: Inverted Qualia (Due Thursday, November 5th)
Assignment 9: Overflow (Due Thursday, November 12th)
Assignment 10: Higher order thought (Due Thursday, November 19th)
Assignment 11: Dreaming (Due Tuesday, December 1st)
Assignment 12: The Zombie Within (Due Tuesday, December 8th)
(Assignment 13: There will be only 12 assignments.)
Some of the readings require a login/password to be sent out on Classes and mentioned in class.
Note that the list of readings may be changed as the term progresses
Please send me email about broken links
The Turing Test
Ned Block, "The Mind as the Software of the Brain", section 11.1.1, "Machine Intelligence" in An Invitation to Cognitive Science, edited by D. Osherson, L. Gleitman, S. Kosslyn, E. Smith and S. Sternberg, MIT Press, 1995)
Dinosaur Comics September 29, 2006
Stuart Shieber, "Lessons from a Restricted Modern Turing Test", Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, volume 37, number 6, pages 70-78, 1994. Published version
Searle's Chinese Room Argument
Ned Block, "The Mind as the Software of the Brain", 11.1.2, 11.1.3, 11.1.4, 11.1.5, 11.2
John Haugeland, "Programs, Causal Powers and Intentionality", Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 1980, 432-433
Jerry Fodor, Searle on what only Brains can Do, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 1980, 431
Zenon Pylyshyn, "The causal powers of machines", Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 1980, 442-444
John Searle, "Author's Response," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 1980. Read responses to Haugeland, Fodor and Pylyshyn, 452-454
John Haugeland, "Syntax, Semantics, Physics", in Views Into the Chinese Room: New Essays on Searle and Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Preston and Mark Bishop, OUP 2002
Functional Role Semantics
Jerry Fodor, "Tom Swift and his Procedural Grandmother" Cognition Volume 6, Issue 3, 1978, Pages 229-247. (Background to Fodor: P. Johnson-Laird , "Procedural Semantics". Cog. 5 3 (1977), pp. 189 214)
For the Tom Swift allusion, click here.
Jerry Fodor, "Having Concepts; A Brief Refutation Of The 20th Century", Mind & Language 19, 1, 2004, p 29-47.
Searle's Wall Argument
Ned Block, "The Mind as the Software of the Brain", section 11.2.2, p 398-400
John Searle, Can Information Theory Explain Consciousness?, New York Review of Books, January 10, 2013
Christof Koch, Giulio Tononi, John Searle, "Can a Photodiode be Conscious?", New York Review of Books, March 7,2013)
Kevin Lacker, Giving GPT-3 a Turing Test, blog post
Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis, "GPT-3, Bloviator: OpenAI's language generator has no idea what it's talking about" Technology Review, August 22, 2020
Julian Michael, To Dissect an Octopus: Making Sense of the Form/Meaning Debate
Iconic mental representation and analog computation
Ned Block, "Mental Pictures and Cognitive Science" Philosophical Review
Zenon Pylyshyn, Return of the mental image: Are there pictures in the head? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17, 3, 2003, 113-118
Stephen M. Kosslyn, Giorgio Ganis, William L. Thompson, Mental Imagery: Against the Nihilistic Hypothesis, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 3, March, 2003 , 109-111, or here
Zenon Pylyshyn, Explaining Mental imagery: now you see it, now you don't: Reply to Kosslyn, et. al., Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 3, March, 2003, 111-112.
The Inverted Spectrum
Martine Nida-Rumelin, Pseudonormal Vision, Philosophical Studies 82, p.145-157
Daniel Dennett, "Quining Qualia", in A. Marcel and E. Bisiach, eds, Consciousness in Modern Science, Oxford University Press 1988
Experiments on Phenomenal Consciousness and Access Consciousness
Victor Lamme's Youtube talk
Ned Block, ""Perceptual consciousness overflows cognitive access". Trends in Cognitive Sciences December 15, 12, 2011, p 567-575
Cohen, M. and Dennett, D. (2011) Consciousness cannot be separated from function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15, 358-364
Victor Lamme, V. (2010) "How neuroscience will change our view on consciousness", Cognitive Neuroscience, 1: 3, 204-220
Ned Block, "Rich conscious perception outside focal attention", Trends in Cognitive Sciences Vol. 18, Issue 9, p445447, 2014
Michael Cohen and Daniel Dennett (2011) Consciousness cannot be separated from function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15, 358-364
Ian Phillips (2015) "No watershed for overflow: Recent work on the richness of consciousness," Philosophical Psychology, on-line September 24, 2015
Michael Cohen, Daniel Dennett, Nancy Kanwisher, "What is the Bandwidth of Perceptual Experience?" Trends in Cognitive Sciences, May 2016
Nicholas Shea, Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LXXXIV No. 2, March 2012
Higher Order Theories of Consciousness
Hakwan Lau and Richard Brown, The Emperor's New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experiences without First-Order Representation, in Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar, 2019.
Ned Block, Empirical science meets higher order views of consciousness: Reply to Hakwan Lau and Richard Brown, in Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar, 2019.
Richard Brown, Block's Response to Lau and Brown on Inattentional Inflation. For the response by Block and rejoinder by Brown, scroll down.
Hakwan Lau & David Rosenthal, Empirical support for higher-order theories of conscious awareness, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15, 8, 2011, 365-373
Joseph LeDoux and Richard Brown A higher-order theory of emotional consciousness. PNAS Early Edition Feb 15, 2017
Jennifer Windt, 'Reporting dream experience: Why (not) to be skeptical about dream reports, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7, 2013
Susanna Martinez-Conde, What Lucid Dreams Look Like, Scientific American, September 7, 2018
The Zombie Within
Christof Koch & Frances Crick, The zombie within. Nature (2001) 411, 893
Theories of Consciousness
Ned Block (2009), "Comparing Theories of Consciousness" Michael Gazzaniga (ed.) The Cognitive Neurosciences IV, MIT Press.
David Chalmers (2003), "Consciousness and its Place in Nature". Read the first 5 sections plus section 7. In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell. pp. 102--142 ().
Algorithms and Bias
Sam Corbett-Davies, Emma Pierson, Avi Feller, Sharad Goel, "A computer program used for bail and sentencing was labeled biased against Blacks. It's actually not that clear."Washington Post, October 17, 2016
Ed Yong, "A Popular Algorithm is No Better at Predicting Crimes Than Random People,"The Atlantic, January 17, 2018
Gabbrielle Johnson, Algorithmic Bias: On the Implicit Biases of Social Technology, Synthese, 2020
Students who successfully complete this class will be able to combine philosophical and scientific considerations to reason about issues on the cutting edge of scientific thinking where what is at issue is not only what the answers are but what the questions are
Slides will be posted on Classes after each class.
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