Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence - PHIL5830

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 6 30 (15) checkmark-circle


The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40
Total Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay (3,000 words) – 80% (This assessed component must be passed)
Seminar Performance – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Bechtel, W. (1998). Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science. Hillsdale, N.J.; Hove: L. Erlbaum Associates
Boden M. (ed.) (1990). The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Boden M. (2008). Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science, Oxford: Clarendon
Clark A. (2008). Supersizing the Mind Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Copeland J. (1993). Artificial Intelligence: A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell
Dreyfus, H. (1992). What Computers Still Can't Do. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of some of the major arguments concerning the possibility of machine intelligence;
2 Engage critically in a sustained and systematic fashion with several of the central philosophical issues in this area concerning the nature of thought and consciousness;
3 Demonstrate their systematic and critical understanding of accounts of the mind from the cognitive sciences;
4 Demonstrate the ability to engage in a sustained and very close critical reading of several major texts in the philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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