Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence - PL583

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn 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.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40


Also available under code PL609 (Level 5)

Method of assessment

Essay (3,000 words) – 50%
Report (1,500 words) – 40%
Seminar Performance – 10%

Indicative reading

The module will focus on selections from works such as:

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

On successfully completing the level 6 module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of some of the major arguments concerning the possibility of machine intelligence;
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;
Demonstrate their systematic and critical understanding of accounts of the mind from the cognitive sciences;
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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