24.09 Minds and Machines

Spring 2007

A profile of an x-ray of a head, with an overlaid image of cogs.
Is the mind a machine? This course explores this question and more. (Figure by MIT OCW.)

Course Highlights

This course features informative handouts in study materials.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in a branch of philosophy called philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?

Recommended Citation

For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

Alex Byrne, course materials for 24.09 Minds and Machines, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].

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Staff

Instructor:
Prof. Alex Byrne

Course Meeting Times

Lectures:
Two sessions / week
1 hour / session

Recitations:
One session / week
1 hour / session

Level

Undergraduate