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24.119 Mind and Machines, Spring 2005

Photograph of humanoid robotic astronaut.

A Robonaut - a humanoid robot designed by the Robot Systems Technology Branch at NASA's Johnson Space Center in a collaborative effort with DARPA. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Highlights of this Course

This course features problem sets and paper topics, located in the assignments section.

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?


Prof. Alex Byrne

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1 hour / session

One session / week
1 hour / session




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