Academic Catalog 2021–2022

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LAS206 Minds & Machines

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course covers 3 cr load from the following 1 cr modules:

206A: Mind and its Place in Nature

This module takes a closer look at the mind and the way it fits into nature. We begin the class with  the classical framing of the issue, focusing on the definition of the mind, and its relation to the material world, before turning to more recent construals, particularly those emerging in the 20th century. Throughout the class we will also consider how the issue of understanding the mind impacts the world we live in.

206B: The Mind’s Architecture

This module takes a closer look at current ways of thinking about the mind’s architecture, and how we can model the mind. We begin by distinguishing mental attributes from other types of attributes, before turning to different models of the mental in cognitive and computer science today. Throughout the class we will also look at the costs and benefits of AI for human society.

206C: Beyond the Mind

This module takes a closer look at new ways of thinking about the mind. Brains do not work on their own. They are part of a body, that acts, and that is in the world. Moreover humans use their minds alongside tools, which are increasingly sophisticated, and which allow us to do more cognitively. So where does the mind end? In this course we’ll look at ‘the 4Es’, which offer new responses to this question: embedded, embodied, enactive, and extended cognition theories. We’ll also see how they have been applied in contemporary technology for a more sustainable future.

206D: The Ethics of Digital Technology

This module takes a closer look at the ethical issues raised by contemporary digital technology. We begin with a quick overview of different ethical theories before turning to the contemporary applications of AI, robotics, and related technologies to a variety of real-world problems.