Session 2

  • Review Article
    • Objections raised by author
      • Computers are merely “serial” but brains are “parallel.”
      • Computers are “digital,” but brains are “analog.”
      • Computers cannot generate emotions, but brains do not generate emotions.
    • Definitions
      • Parallel vs serial
      • Digital vs analog
    • Cognitive science
      • perceived gap in research areas:
        • no science of cognition
        • no systematic exploration of central questions
      • The scientific study of cognition, involving a domain of investigation and a set of procedure for studying that domain.
    •  Cognition
    • Computation
    •  Empiricism
    • Introspectionism
    • Associationism

PHIL 621 – Session 1

  • Housekeeping
    • Professor likes to use green checkmark feature in the participants list of zoom
  • Writing Assignment 1
    • Do you accept the proposition that your brain is a computer? Why or why not?
      • There are many computational processes happening in the brain, but brains are not deterministic machines. There is a great deal of probability, fuzzy logic, balancing of conflicting perspectives, and random chance involved in neural networks reaching conclusions. So they are both like and unlike computers. 2
    • Can you imagine conditions under which it would be rational for you to change your mind or make up your mind? Describe them or explain why not
      • If my evidence or first principles changed then I would change my mind. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, experts were saying not to wear masks. Now there are saying to wear two masks. This led to me changing  my mind about wearing masks.
    • What objections might people have, and how would you rebut those objections?
    • Class discussed similarities and differences between computers and brains
      • Myelin sheaths are like semiconductors
      • AI is like intuition
      • Computers don’t make art
      • Talked about the empiricism argument that humans don’t actually create new things, they just synthesize novel combinations of things they’ve experienced. Computers do the same thing; artbreeder for example of neural nets that generate new buildings or faces based on ideas they see in pictures of other buildings or faces
      • Talked about descartes and mind body dualism