Summer Scholars, 2011


This course explores questions about human thought and its relation to our bodies and to computers and other machines. There are intimate connections between thought and our bodies, especially our brain. And there are increasing connections between thought and machines, especially computers. How does being bodily shape human thought? Is thought possible without a body? IS thought possible in machines? Do computers think? Is thought possible in other animals? As we explore these questions, we'll have some fun (some serious fun) puzzling about zombies and what would distinguish a zombie from you and me.

The course itself will be divided into four broad sections:

  1. what is information and computation?
  2. what role does information and computation play in being human?
  3. what is it to be human, and how is embodiment related to thought?
  4. what values are at stake if being human turns out to be all about information and computation?

Course Materials