M.A.L.S. 701X Core Seminar II


Prof. George Brinton

4161 Boylan

Mon., Wed. 1:45 - 2:30, and by appointment

718 951-5281

Human society and its institutions, such as government, the family, business and education, could not exist without the communication and processing of information. Indeed, the human organism itself may be viewed as an information processing system. The continuing evolution of the computer is radically changing man's abilities to process information. Thus, the computer ultimately affects man's understanding of himself. This course examines modern information processing technology in relation to our ideas of mind, self and society.

Text and Assignments

Blackmore, Susan. Consciousness: An Introduction. New York: Oxford U. P. 2004.


1. What a computer is and how it works. Information, logic and circuits. Information

processing systems. Shannon’s second theorem. Information storage in the gene and the brain. Blackmore, Section One.


2. Algorithms and programming. Blackmore, Section Two.


3. Laboratory 1. The computer and the physical world: research resources; simulation, virtual machines, cellular automata. Blackmore, Section Three.


4. Laboratory 2. The computer and the physical world, continued: fractals and chaos. Blackmore, Section Four.


5. Laboratory 3. The computer and the mind. The Turing test, expert systems, neural networks, philosophy of mind. Blackmore, Section Five.


6. Laboratory 4. The computer, fantasy and reality: virtual reality, the philosophy of simulation.


7. The mind/body problem. What is the relationship between mind and body?


8. The mind/machine problem. Can a machine think?