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Fundamental Debates in the Cognitive Sciences


Module description

The module will introduce you to foundational debates in cognitive science. 

Indicative module content

  • Philosophy of science relevant to cognitive science
  • History of cognitive science
  • The relation between language and cognition
  • Compositionality of representations
  • Problems of learnability
  • Learning versus development
  • What are concepts and can they be learned?
  • Can machines think? (including Searle and the Chinese Room argument)
  • The problem of reference (including symbol grounding and the Frame problem)
  • Embodied cognition
  • Consciousness (machines or otherwise)
  • Can machines have emotions?

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • have a basic understanding of the issues which have shaped the development of cognitive science
  • be able to describe the theoretical alternatives relating to mental representation, cognitive computation and human learning (amongst others)
  • be able to provide arguments for and against each theoretical position.