::: about
::: news
::: links
::: giving
::: contact

::: calendar
::: lunchtime
::: annual lecture series
::: conferences

::: visiting fellows
::: postdoc fellows
::: senior fellows
::: resident fellows
::: associates

::: visiting fellowships
::: postdoc fellowships
::: senior fellowships
::: resident fellowships
::: associateships

being here
::: visiting
::: the last donut
::: photo album

::: center home >> about >> international partnerships>>Tsinghua

Pitt-Tsinghua Summer School for Philosophy of Science

Institute of Science Technology and Society, Tsinghua University • Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh


2016  Wayne Wu, Interfacing the Mind and Brain

In this course, we explore the mind and its connection to the brain. Our focus will be perceptual consciousness and we will ask a few questions:

1. What is consciousness?
2. Can we and how should we explain consciousness by appeal to the brain?

We will begin (Lecture 1) with discussion of three basic ideas: information, representation and explanation. We will look at neural representations and think about how we can connect them to consciousness. We then introduce the topic of consciousness as discussed by Anglo-American (analytic) philosophers and try to come up with a clear set of questions that science can address (Lecture 2). Scientists have attempted to address the question of consciousness, and we will consider a major neural theory of consciousness and ask what questions about consciousness they address (Lecture 3). Attention is also thought to play an important role as a gate for consciousness, so we shall explore what attention is and whether it determines consciousness (Lecture 4). Finally, we will consider an interesting explanation of auditory consciousness that appeals to a specific neural mechanism of self-monitoring, namely auditory hallucination in schizophrenia (Day 5).


LECTURE 1: Information, Representation, and Explanation

How do neurons represent? What are representations? How do we use representations to explain the mind?

Primary Readings
1. Fred Dretske “If you can’t make one, you don’t know how it works” (1994) Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 468-82
2. David Marr Vision (1982) Freeman and Co. Chapter 1, pp. 19-28

Optional Readings
1. David Marr Vision (1982) Freeman and Co. Chapter 1, pp. 8-19
2. Charles Gross "Single Neuron Studies of Inferotemporal Cortex" (2008) Neuropsychologia 46:841-52


LECTURE 2: The Problem of Consciousness

What is consciousness? Are there different kinds of consciousness? What makes consciousness difficult to explain?

Primary Readings
1. Thomas Nagel “What is it like to be a bat?” (1974) Philosophical Review 83: 435-50
2. Frank Jackson “What Mary Didn’t Know”, (1986) Journal of Philosophy 83: 291-5
3. Ned Block “On A Confusion about Consciousness” (1995) Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18: 230-5

Optional Readings
4. AD Smith The Problem of Perception, Chapter 1


LECTURE 3: Neural Theories of Consciousness

Since the brain must produce consciousness, what about the brain allows us to explain it? What properties of the brain give rise to consciousness? What questions should neuroscientists ask about consciousness?

Primary Readings
1. Wayne Wu “The Neuroscience of Consciousness”, commissioned for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
2. Stanislas Dehaene et al. “Conscious, Preconscious, and Subliminal Processing: A Testable Taxonomy” Trends in Cognitive Science (2006) 10: 204-11
3. Stanislas Dehaene et al. “A Computational Theory of Conscious Processing” Trends in Cognitive Science (2014) 25: 76-84.


LECTURE 4: Attention and Consciousness

What is attention? Does attention play a central role in consciousness? What is this role and is there evidence for it?

Primary Readings
1. M. Cohen et al. “The Attentional Requirements of Consciousness” 16:411-7
2. M. Cohen and D. Dennett “Consciousness cannot be separated from Function” 15: 358-64
3. M. Cohen et al. “What is the Bandwidth of Perceptual Experience” Trends in Cognitive Science, 20: 324-32.

Optional Readings
1. Wayne Wu “A Primer on Attention” (unpublished)


LECTURE 5: Hallucination, Schizophrenia, and the Self

How do we explain conscious perceptual experience? What about when such experience goes wrong?

Primary Readings
1. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Christopher Frith (2003) “Disorders of Self-Monitoring and the Symptoms of Schizophrenia” 407-24.
2. Wayne Wu “Explaining Schizophrenia” Mind and Language (2012)



Revised 9/11/18 - Copyright 2006-2009