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Cognitive Science Spring 2016 Colloquium

(Co-sponsored by Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Computer Science)

The Self as Software:

Transcending and Enhancing the Brain 

Dr. Susan Schneider

Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science

University of Connecticut

Monday, April 18th, 4:30 pm Driscol 134


Cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind often say that “the mind is the software of the brain” and relatedly, that “the mind is the program the brain runs.” But is the mind really a program? The task of this presentation is to dismantle the software model of the mind and a related view that says that we can survive brain uploading and other forms of radical brain enhancement because our “informational pattern” or “software” survives. (I also respond to popular articles on my view in Big Think, Wired, and Humanity+, all of which offer a software conception.) Computationalism needs a richer conception of the mind. I sketch an alternative to the software conception, and illustrate how it is compatible with computationalism. Along the way, I introduce “the problem of AI consciousness” and explain how the solution to the AI consciousness problem impacts the debate about whether the mind is software, and whether “superintelligent” machines or other kinds of sophisticated AIs can, in principle, be persons, deserving of rights.  


Recent Speakers:


  • Fall, 2015, Dr. Ani Patel, Tufts University
  • Fall, 2015, Dr. Roger Remington, University of Queensland
  • Spring 2015, Dr. Art Kramer, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois
  • Fall, 2014, Dr. Brenda Rapp, Johns Hopkins University  
  • Spring 2014, Dr. Brian Scassellati, Yale University
  • Fall 2013, Dr. Julio Villa-Garcia, Villanova University
  • Spring 2012, Dr. Larry Barsalou, Emory University
  • Fall 2011, Dr. Georg Theiner, Villanova University
  • Spring 2011, Dr. Russell Romeo, Michigan State University
  • Spring 2011 - Dr. Lance Kriegsfeld, University of California – Berkeley
  • Fall 2010 - Dr. Anjan Chatterjee from the University of Pennsylvania
  • Spring 2010 - Dr. Brian J. Scholl from Yale University
  • Fall 2007 - Dr. Susan Goldin-Meadow from the University of Chicago
  • Spring 2007 - Professor Paul Thagard from University of Waterloo