Philosophical Zombies and Super-intelligent Robots (PHI2106.01)

Catherine McKeen

There is a 3 lb. grayish-white, fatty organ inhabiting your skull. All of your thoughts, dreams, hopes, beliefs, and memories originate, in some way, in this organ. But how does this meat in your head think? How is your brain capable of having conscious experiences? How does your brain allow you to taste a strawberry or hear more cowbell? And, don’t look now, but the singularity – the tipping point where AI evolves beyond human capacity and control – is nigh. What does the evolution of non-biological super-intelligence mean for thinking meat like us? This seven-week course is an introduction to the philosophy of mind centered on two main issues: (1) how does conscious experience fit into a material world? (2) how should humans respond to super-intelligent AI systems? Likely readings include work by: Kathleen Akins, Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Hedda Hassel Mørch, Ray Kurzweil, Thomas Nagel, and Susan Schneider.

Learning Outcomes:
• Ask strong questions, engage thoughtfully with a range of philosophical views
• Analyze philosophical views and arguments
• Develop your ideas in writing using appropriate evidence and support

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 2000 , All courses , First Seven Week , Fully In-Person , Philosophy , Two Credit