Scientists, philosophers, and artists have long 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 minds, the Turing Test, the Chinese Room Argument, 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:
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 Blackboard page. A small reading assignment must be completed before the first class.
A final on-line open book exam
Will be made available through Blackboard in advance of the first lecure.