Academic year 2023/2024
- Course ID
- Alberto Voltolini (Lecturer)
- 2nd year
- Teaching period
- Second semester
- Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
- M-FIL/05 - philosophy and theory of language
- Formal authority
- Type of examination
- Written and oral
- Type of learning unit
- Modular course
- Bioethics and Philosophy of Mind (NEU0282)
Sommario del corso
Students will have to prove to be able to know and to present the main arguments in favour and against the theories and perspectives at stake and to discuss them critically. At the end of the course students will be able to master the logical space of the positions in question, so as to be able to present them also in interdisciplinary perspective (in particular wrt cognitive sciences), and to master the technologies needed for such presentations.
Results of learning outcomes
Students should be able to know and present the main arguments in favour of the examined theories and views, and to know how to discuss them critically. This will be accomplished via oral examination, or via a written text (1000 words max.) on the module’s themes.
The module on philosophy of mind aims at introducing students to some debates concerning foundational, theoretical and methodological issues in cognitive neuroscience. What kind of scientific ontology characterizes cognitive neuroscience? What are functional double dissociations, and what theoretical risks do they imply? What kinds of conclusions about the cognitive acvitity can be derived from neuroimaging data? How is it possible for the same cerebral area to support multiple cognitive functions, and for the same cognitive function to be implemented in multiple cerebral areas? After a presentation of the aims of the emerging philosophy of neuroscience, the module will explore the virtues and limitations of some techniques for investigating brain activity (focusing in particular on lesion studies and functional MRI) and some types of inferences that can be drawn from neuroscience data (forward inference and reverse inference). Moving from concrete examples, students will learn to critically evaluate the uses and abuses of neuroscience data and to improve their reasoning on these issues, also employing automated tools (e.g., Neurosynth).
Teacher’s lectures. Depending on the circumstances, the module will be offered in blended modality (either online or in person).
Learning assessment methods
Oral examination or alternatively a written text (1000 words max) on the module’s themes. The evaluation will depend on the following three factors, in a non-exclusive alternative: i) the students' preparation on the module’s themes and their ability to face them critically, ii) their capacity to present such themes, iii) their capacity to ask pertinent and penetrating questions on the programmed texts. This will enable one to test the students' ability both with respect to the learning objectives and with respect to the expected results.
Suggested readings and bibliography
Bickle, John, Peter Mandik, and Anthony Landreth, "The Philosophy of Neuroscience", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/neuroscience/>.
Slides with notes and further educational material provided by the teacher.