For ages scientists, philosophers, and artists have been fascinated by the idea of “thinking machines”. Over the past decades, computer technology has turned some of these fascinations into reality, to the point where it rapidly enters our daily lives. At the same time many fundamental questions surrounding artificial intelligence remain open. What does it take for a system to be called “intelligent”? And under what conditions can we say that a system “can think”, “has a mind”, or “is creative”? How does artificial intelligence relate to traditional philosophical questions about knowledge and reasoning? And do we ultimately benefit from AI, or is it a threat rather than a blessing? This course discusses such questions trough seven thematic lectures.
After seven thematic lectures students will:
be able to approach fundamental questions surrounding AI from various perspectives;
be able to read, interpret, and reflect upon scientific and philosophical literature regarding computer reasoning, the Turing Test, the Chinese Room Argument, intentionality, utopian/dystopian views of AI, and computational creativity;
have a basic, fundamental understanding of the link between AI and traditional philosophical questions regarding epistemology and (the evolution of) intelligence;
have a basic, fundamental understanding of why AI is used and how it relates to (future) challenges in computer science and society.
The most updated version of the timetables can be found on the students' website:
You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudymap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.
MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).
For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.
Mode of Instruction
The course consists of seven 2-hour (on-line) lectures, each with a different theme/perspective related to the Philosophy of AI. Class attendance is compulsory. Students are expected to have studied the reading before each lecture, so that active participation in class can be expected. The timetable and reading material can be found on the course’s Brightspace page. A small reading assignment must be completed before the first class.
Homework in preparation of a debate we organise in class (30%) and a written exam (70%).
From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudymap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. An exemption is the fall semester for 1st year bachelor students, the student administration will enroll this group.
Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.