Sctnfc. Epistemology & Cnssnss | Department of Chemistry

Sctnfc. Epistemology & Cnssnss

How do we know what we know? What is the role of the observer in science? What is consciousness? How do we know that we are not brains in vats? Is there an objective reality? Does time really exist? How do our theories of space and time depend upon our perceptions of space and time? What is empathy? Is human consciousness fundamentally different from animal consciousness? From artificial intelligence? These and other questions are considered in this inter-disciplinary course, open to all students. No science background, except curiosity and a spirit of enquiry, is needed. We will learn about measurement in quantum mechanics, functional brain imaging studies, proprioception and synesthesia, anosognosia and phantom limbs, mirror neurons, the limbic system and the “God module”. Social, political, religious and philosophical attitudes on consciousness will also be addressed, but the emphasis will be on empirical evidence supporting various theories. This will be an “inverted course” in the sense that instruction will be through a combination of reading assignments, group discussions, projects, as well as short video presentations and lectures. Students are expected to do library research, write term papers, and participate actively in class discussions.

Course Code: 
Course Credits: 
Course Level: