PHIL 2030 - Cognitive Science: Minds, Brains & Computers

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

Cognitive Science is a multi-disciplinary enterprise that seeks to explain human intelligence and behaviour by drawing together the insights from psychology, computer science, neuroscience, and philosophy. This course is an introduction to the philosophical and theoretical foundations of this field. Topics will include the computational model of the mind, classical (digital) and connectionist (analog) approaches to cognition, embodied and distributed cognition, and dynamical systems theory. While there will be discussion of computation and computational accounts of cognition, the course is introductory and does not assume a background in computing or mathematics.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 2030
    Course Cognitive Science: Minds, Brains & Computers
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites 12 units level 1 Arts courses including 3 units in Philosophy; or 12 units Psychology, Computer Science, and/or Mathematics
    Incompatible PHIL 2013 or PHIL 3013
    Course Description Cognitive Science is a multi-disciplinary enterprise that seeks to explain human intelligence and behaviour by drawing together the insights from psychology, computer science, neuroscience, and philosophy. This course is an introduction to the philosophical and theoretical foundations of this field. Topics will include the computational model of the mind, classical (digital) and connectionist (analog) approaches to cognition, embodied and distributed cognition, and dynamical systems theory. While there will be discussion of computation and computational accounts of cognition, the course is introductory and does not assume a background in computing or mathematics.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Gerard O'Brien

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to:

    1. introduce students to the central topics and problems in the philosophy of cognitive science; and
    2. Develop an understanding of related topics in philosophy, cogntiive psychology, computer science and neuroscience.

    After successfully completing this course, students should:

    3. Be aware of the main philosophical positions in cognitive science;
    4. Have experience in analyzing and critiquing written arguments;
    5. Show improvement in problem solving and critical reasoning skills; and
    6. Be able to discuss and debate philosophical issues in a group setting.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-6
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lecture notes will be made available on MyUni each week, and the lectures will
    be recorded.

    Tutorial readings and reading lists will be made available on MyUni.

    To prepare for tutorials, students are required to answer a set
    of tutorial questions. These will be made available on MyUni in the week
    preceding the tutorial.
    Online Learning
    Lecture notes will be made available on MyUni each week, and the
    lectures will be recorded. To prepare for tutorials, you are required to
    answer a set of tutorial questions. These will be made available on
    MyUni in the week preceding the tutorial.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.

    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is a guide to the average number of hours per week you should spend on this course.

    The total is (12 weeks x12 hours per week) = 144 hours over the whole semester.  

    1 x 2 hour lecture per week 
    1 hour tutorial per week 
    3 hours revision per week 
    3 hours tutorial preparation per week  
    3 hours assessment work (essay and exam preparation)  

    Total per week 12 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topics will include:

    1. The computational model of the mind (2 lectures);
    2. Classical (digital) and connectionist (analog) approaches to cognition (6 lectures);
    3. Embodied cognition, Bayesian models of cognition, and dynamical systems theory (4 lectures).
    Small Group Discovery Experience

    Small group discovery experience will take place in tutorials.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Essay 1    Summative    20%
    Essay 2    Summative    40%
    Essay 3    Summative    40%
    Tutorials   Formative      Unweighted
    Assessment Detail
    The assessment will involve one short essay, and two longer essays.

    Essay 1 (1000 words). Choose one question, to be provided, on Topic 1.
    Essay 2 (2000 words). Choose one question, to be provided, on Topic 2.
    Essay 3 (2000 words). Choose one question, to be provided, on Topic 3.
    Submission
    The essays will be submitted electronically via MyUni. Details of the submission process will be provided with the essay questions.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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