About this Course
4.5
430 ratings
98 reviews
Course Description What is our role in the universe as human agents capable of knowledge? What makes us intelligent cognitive agents seemingly endowed with consciousness? This is the second part of the course 'Philosophy and the Sciences', dedicated to Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences. Scientific research across the cognitive sciences has raised pressing questions for philosophers. The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the main areas and topics at the key juncture between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Each week we will introduce you to some of these important questions at the forefront of scientific research. We will explain the science behind each topic in a simple, non-technical way, while also addressing the philosophical and conceptual questions arising from it. Areas you’ll learn about will include: Philosophy of psychology, among whose issues we will cover the evolution of the human mind and the nature of consciousness. Philosophy of neurosciences, where we’ll consider the nature of human cognition and the relation between mind, machines, and the environment. Learning objectives Gain a fairly well-rounded view on selected areas and topics at the intersection of philosophy and the sciences Understand some key questions, and conceptual problems arising in the cognitive sciences. Develop critical skills to evaluate and assess these problems. Suggested Readings To accompany 'Philosophy and the Sciences', we are pleased to announce a tie-in book from Routledge entitled 'Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone'. This course companion to the 'Philosophy and the Sciences' course was written by the Edinburgh Philosophy and the Sciences team expressly with the needs of MOOC students in mind. 'Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone' contains clear and user-friendly chapters, chapter summaries, glossary, study questions, suggestions for further reading and guides to online resources. Please note, this companion book is optional - all the resources needed to complete the course are available freely and listed on the course site....
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Flexible deadlines

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Clock

Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 6 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 6 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
10 minutes to complete

Philosophy and the Sciences Part 1

This course is the second part of the joint course 'Philosophy and the Sciences'. If you want to go to the first part of the course, 'Philosophy and the Physical Sciences' follow the link below ...
Reading
1 reading
Reading1 reading
Link to Philosophy and the Physical Sciences10m
Clock
2 hours to complete

Stone-age minds in modern skulls: evolutionary theory and the philosophy of mind (Suilin Lavelle and Kenny Smith)

Scientists agree that our brains are a product of natural selection. How did human brains and human cognitive structures evolve ?...
Reading
3 videos (Total 36 min), 6 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
1.2 Stone-Age Minds Part II13m
1.3 Stone-Age Minds Part III17m
Reading6 readings
Handout10m
Recommended readings10m
The evolution of language10m
Niche Construction10m
Chimpanzee culture social learning10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week 1 Quiz: Do our modern skulls house stone-age minds?20m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

What is consciousness? (Mark Sprevak and David Carmel)

Why do creatures with brains like ours have consciousness? What makes certain bits of our mental life conscious and others not?...
Reading
2 videos (Total 30 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video2 videos
2.2 What is Consciousness Part II16m
Reading7 readings
Handout from Mark's lectures10m
Slides from David's lectures10m
Recommended readings10m
Access/Phenomenal consciousness distinction10m
Overview of philosophical problems concerning consciousness10m
Limitations of perceptual awareness10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week 2 Quiz: What is consciousness?20m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Intelligent machines and the human brain (Mark Sprevak and Peggy Series)

How does one make a clever adaptive machine that can recognise speech, control an aircraft, and detect credit card fraud?...
Reading
2 videos (Total 28 min), 8 readings, 1 quiz
Video2 videos
3.2 Intelligent Machines Part II15m
Reading8 readings
Find and share news on intelligent machines!10m
Recommended readings10m
Computational theory of mind and connectionism10m
The McGurk effect video10m
The Ames illusion video10m
Motion perception10m
The rotating mask illusion video10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week 3 Quiz: From intelligent machines to the human brain20m

4

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Embodied cognition (Andy Clark and Barbara Webb)

Embodied cognition is all about the huge difference that having an active body and being situated in a structured environment make to the kind of tasks that the brain has to perform in order to support adaptive success. ...
Reading
2 videos (Total 24 min), 7 readings, 2 quizzes
Video2 videos
4.2 Embodied Cognition Part II15m
Reading7 readings
Lecture Slides10m
Recommended readings10m
Embodied Cognition further reading10m
Passive-dynamic walkers video10m
The current crop of robots10m
Design your own robot10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Week 4 Quiz: Embodied cognition and the sciences of the mind20m
4.5
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Top Reviews

By CMAug 7th 2018

I have enjoyed the course, specially the detailed way of explained all the topics by the instructors. Also, I went through some of the bibliography sources provided which is a lot. Thank You all

By KSJun 3rd 2017

An amazing course where you get introduced to concepts like cognitive science, philosophy of mind, consciousness, etc. Simple and crisp content matter.

Instructors

Professor Michela Massimi

Full Professor
Philosophy

Dr. Suilin Lavelle

Lecturer in Philosophy
University of Edinburgh

Dr David Carmel

Lecturer
Psychology

Dr Mark Sprevak

Senior Lecturer
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Professor Duncan Pritchard

Professor of Philosophy
University of Edinburgh

Professor Andy Clark

School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Professor John Peacock

Professor of Cosmology
Institute for Astronomy

Professor Barbara Webb

School of Informatics

Dr Kenny Smith

School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Dr Peggy Series

Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation

About The University of Edinburgh

Influencing the world since 1583, The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the world's top 50 universities. Today, we are an established and global leader in online learning, providing degree-level education to 3,000 online students in addition to 36,000 students on-campus. We also offer a wide range of free online courses in a variety of subjects. To find out more about studying for one of our online degrees, search for ‘Edinburgh online’ or visit www.ed.ac.uk/studying/online-learning/postgraduate ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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