During the sommer semester 2022 we are covering the following topics:
What is the most familiar thing in the world? Your bed? Your pet? Your favorite book, song, or person? Assuming you’re not a (philosophical) zombie, chances are it’s your mind. And that includes the feel of your bed beneath you, the sight of your pet, the sound of your favorite song, and the thought of your favorite person. Yes, nothing is more familiar to us than our mental processes and states: our day or even “self” begins and ends with feeling, seeing, hearing, and thinking. Despite this utmost familiarity, our understanding of our minds is rudimentary at best. Everyone knows that water is a chemical compound of the elements oxygen and hydrogen. But what is the (human) mind? What is consciousness, perception, feeling, thinking? How do mental and physical states relate to each other? Is there anything that distinguishes mental states? Such questions and others are at the heart of philosophy of mind. In this seminar, we will approach them through shared reflection and discussion, and develop a critical understanding and systematic overview of possible (but not definitive) answers. And yes, we will also encounter (philosophical) zombies on this foray.
Azenet Liora Lopez Lopez
Our attention is what shapes our mental lives. The things to which we pay attention make a substantial difference to our experience of the world, our emotional state and our interactions with others. Nowadays, attention has even became a resource that big corporations compete for grabbing every day, in what has been called “an economy of attention”.
In this seminar we will explore the nature of attention, combining perspectives from contemporary analytic philosophy and cognitive psychology. In the first part of the course we will look at competing philosophical theories and how they integrate current psychological findings. In the second part, we will discuss the relevance of attention for foundational problems in philosophy, such as the nature of consciousness, free will, moral responsibility, aesthetic experience, and intersubjectivity.
Watzl, S., 2017, Structuring Mind: The Nature of Attention and how it Shapes Consciousness, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
See more recommended readings at: https://www.azenetlopez.net/teaching
The seminar will be based on the discussion of current papers in the domain of social neuroscience. We aim to discuss 3 papers per session on topics relating to Theory of Mind, social influence, social learning strategies, metacognition, reinforcement learning (animal, human, AI), decision making under risk and uncertainty, and cognitive biases. The papers will look at neural, behavioural and theoretical contributions. Each session will also include a primer on reading technique, where we develop key skills to get the core of a paper’s arguments and results, as well as an opportunity to work on presentation skills, useful for different types of audiences (specialist, interdisciplinary, or general audience)
Merle T. Fairhurst
How do we process the complex rhythms of two intertwined melodies? How when making music with others, do we coordinate actions in time and space by interpreting movements we see (a conductor’s baton) and sounds that we hear (a fellow musician’s instrument)? In this general review group, we will explore questions related to uni- and multisensory perception both when listening to and making music by referring to relevant empirical work from the field of cognitive neuroscience. Each week, by reading primary research articles, we will look at how experimental methods are used to test a specific scientific hypothesis and discuss empirical and theoretical strengths and weaknesses of various approaches. Based on the seminar, we will then work in groups during an additional practical session where we will attempt to answer new questions by developing appropriate study designs.
Tuesday 12 -14.00 (followed by followed by practical from 14 – 16.00)
This course will introduce students to decision-theoretic and game-theoretic study of rational choice and social interaction. The course is aimed at upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students in philosophy, economics, and other areas of research that have an interest in formal analysis of human decision making.
In this lecture, I will cover central topics of neurophilosophy with a focus on more recent embodied approaches to the mind. Topics will include (but are not limited to) perceptual experience vs. sensation, emotion and evaluation, supervenience bases of mental status, neural correlates of consciousness.
Tuesdays, 10 am to noon, (at the “Graduate School for Systematic Neuroscience”)
In this lecture, I will develop a philosophical perspective on studies in empirical aesthetics and neuroaesthetics and propose a critical neuroaesthetics that focuses on the transformational potential of culture and the arts (the lecture and lecture notes/slides will be in English).
Wednesdays, 4 to 6 pm
Block Seminar (German/English), September 26-30
In the seminar, we read classical texts of analytical philosophy on general symbol theory (Goodman/Elgin) and art perception (Wittgenstein/Wollheim) as well as contemporary texts that deal with empirical approaches to aesthetics as well as concrete examples of art. Texts mixed from the those different traditions will be discussed in daily blocks and also examined “in front of the original” (including a visit to museums/gallery spaces in Munich). The seminar will therefore take place as a block seminar from September 26-30. A mandatory preparatory meeting will take place on July 28 at 2 pm.
"Philosophy of Mind" Colloquium/
Research colloquium of the chair. We will discuss contemporary approaches in philosophy of mind and neuroscience and have a series of guest presentations from researchers in this field.
Wednesdays (term time) 10 am to noon
By invitation only
If you are interested in some of the opportunities below, please email prior to sending a full application (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
– Two research-only post-docs (cognitive science, 2+1 years) for a project on improving human learning with AI (Co_Learn):
1) Post-doctoral assistant – Cognitive Science – Experimental Philosophy (m/f/x)
2) Post-doctoral assistant in Cognitive Neuroscience (m/f/x)
– PhD studentship (3+1 years) for a project on collaborative awareness across AI agents, and interactions with humans (EIC-EMERGE)
– Open call for PhD scholarships in the philosophy & neuroscience branch of the GSN (dead-line Feb 15th 2023).
Master projects and internships
- Collective perception (2 projects available with Co-sense)
- Public understanding of artificial intelligence: What are we even looking for ?
- Responsibility and confidence
- Truth effect : Repeating is believing
Bring your own project
We host PhD or post-doctoral projects that would complement our research environment (funding options DFG, Humboldt, DAAD, EU, etc.).