Biology of mind :: course schedule

September 5 Course introduction: biology, evolution, brains, and minds.

Sept. 7 Philosophy of mind, the mind-body problem. Kim, "Mind-body problem, 40 years later"

Sept. 12 Proximate and ultimate causes of mental phenomena. How is mind a phenotype? Mayr, "Cause and effect in biology."

Sept. 14 Adaptationism, exaptations, spandrels, and behavioral
evolution. Gould and Lewontin, "The Spandrels of San Marco..."

Sept. 19 Neurons, building nervous systems, vertebrate brains. Northcutt, "Understanding vertebrate brain evolution".

Sept. 21 Mammalian brain specializations and genetics.

Sept. 26 Mammalian social groups and social behaviors.

Sept. 28 Culture and communication in mammals, focusing on primates.

October 3 Primate minds

Oct. 5 Early hominid brain evolution and behavioral evidence

Oct. 10 Toolmaking, archaeology, and the brain

Oct. 12 Evolution of brain size and anatomy in Homo

Oct. 17 Archaeology, Neandertals, MSA, and the Upper Paleolithic

Oct. 19 Symbolic culture, information processing, and intelligence

Oct. 24 Biosemiotics and information theory

Oct. 26 Developmental plasticity, "evo-devo" and the mind

Oct. 31 Learning and the Baldwin effect

November 2 Emotions and action

Nov. 7 Language development, pidgins and creoles

Nov. 9 Evolution of language

Nov. 14 Language, consciousness, and cognition

Nov. 16 Art and perception

Nov. 21 Sleep, dreams, and consciousness

Nov. 23 No class, Thanksgiving break

Nov. 28 Altered states

Nov. 30 Animal consciousness

December 5 Cognition and culture

Dec. 7 The aging mind

Dec. 12 Artificial intelligence, cybernetics, and minds

Dec. 14 Last day of class. Student choice lecture.