CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCES
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:
1. Understand the basic lexicon of Cognitive Science and Neuroscience, including general aspects concerning brain anatomy and functions
2. Apply the acquired concepts to the contemporary interdisciplinary debate.
3. Take a lucid and argued position on issues related to the relevance of neuroscientific data, and contribution to the humanities.
4. Debate on topics addressed during the course and to master the argumentative strategies of cognitive science. In addition, the course will provide the student with the ability to use multimedia tools (web search engines, social networks) in order to retrieve information and stay updated.
5. Read and understand scientific and philosophical texts focused on the topics mentioned above.
There are no prerequisites
Course contents summary
The course provides an introduction to the multiple interactions between Humanities and Cognitive Science.
Beside transmitting the basic knowledge required for a basic course in Cognitive Science, the course will focuses on the collaboration between neuroscience and humanities, highlighting the numerous articulations of contemporary interdisciplinary dialogue. Particular attention will be paid to the discussion on empathy and emotions.
Further details will be provided in the "Extended Program" section
The course is an introduction to cognitive science, and to the debate at the crossroad between humanities, neuroscience and philosophy of mind. The first part of the course will be focused on a general presentation of contemporary cognitive science. Subsequently, it will tackle the issue of the so-called “pragmatic turn” and “embodied cognition” characterizing contemporary cognitive science.
According to this view, cognitive processes emerge from sensorimotor and bodily patterns, commonly involved in agency and agent-world interaction, but also “exploited” by cognitive functions. The theoretical consequences of this view are of interest for all scholars in the field of philosophy and humanities, interested in topics such as language, perception, mental representations, decision-making or free-will.
Particular attention will be paid to the debate concerning empathy and emotions. We will highlight the role of some researches carried out at the University of Parma, including those related the cognitive functions of the Mirror Neurons System, a clear example of neuroscientific discovery at the center of an important interdisciplinary debate.
Di Francesco M., Marraffa M., Tomasetta A. 2017, Filosofia della Mente, Corpo, Coscienza, Pensiero, Carocci
Caruana Borghi, Il cervello in azione; Il Mulino;
Marraffa, Filosofia della Psicologia; Laterza
Additional texts will be provided during the course
The course is essentially based on lectures. Each lesson will make use of PPT slides and movies. All the slides will be provided to the students during the course. During the lessons, debate on the meaning of the presented scientific evidence will be encouraged. In particular, we will try to understand the possible theoretical interpretations of the data, and the consequences deriving from the aforementioned interpretations. At the end of the course, students will be asked to write a short article examining some scientific studies. The student will choose the topic within a list proposed by the teacher, in order to meet the specific interests of the student.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam is divided into a written and an oral part. As far as the former is concerned, the student will choose a topic within a list proposed by the teacher, deepening a subject covered in class. The article must be written according to the style required by the main specialist journals, simulating the submission of an article for publication.
The oral part will be focused on the discussion of the written text, and on general topics discussed in class