The Brain as a Phantastic Organ

Ronald Sladky
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2019S, Lecture and Discussion (VOD), 2.0 semester hours, course number S02641

Description

In a recent publication, Karl Friston, one of world’s leading pioneers and authorities in human brain science, has called the brain a phantastic organ – derived from the Greek word phantastikos, the ability to create mental images (Friston et al., 2014). Contrary to earlier concepts of behaviorists that the brain is more or less a passive stimulus-response machine, the first and foremost function of the brain is that it constantly generates fantasies, or hypotheses, that are tested against sensory evidence. The purpose of these internal models about the world is to allow for better predictions about the future. In this course we will explore different aspects about the brain and cognition. We will start with some historical foundations in neuroscience and philosophy. Then we are addressing the basic principles of neuronal action and brain functions. Finally we will take some time to discuss fundamental paradigms in cognitive science and critically evaluate their scope and how they relate to popular conceptions of the brain and mind.

Examination Modalities

2 short, written exams on key concepts. 1 short and 1 long presentation on a self-selected topic of the course (e.g., consciousness, emotions, psychopathology, learning, free will, etc.) that includes an artistic/reflective/non-scientific form of expression (artwork, visualization, essay, poem, music, joke, etc.) and a presentation that covers a thorough theoretical elaboration that links back to the course topics.

Friday, 03. May 2019
Quiz 1 Neuroscience and Philosophy (15%), Homework 1 presentations (25%)

Friday, 28. June 2019
Quiz 2 Cognitive Science (25%), Homework 2 presentations (35%)

Comments

Students from other faculties or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities.

Key Words

brain, neuroscience, cognition, mind

Dates

08 March 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "The History of the Brain / The Mind and the Brain"
23 March 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Neurons in Action / Brain Anatomy"
29 March 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Brain in Action"
03 May 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Quiz 1 (15%), Homework 1 presentations (25%)" (examination)
10 May 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Cognitive Science: What is intelligence?"
11 May 2019, 09:15–15:15 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Predictive Processing and Active inference"
28 June 2019, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room , "Quiz 2 (25%), Homework 2 presentations (35%)" (examination)

Course Enrolment

From 28 January 2019, 09:15 to 10 March 2019, 12:45
Via online registration

co-registration: possible (3.0 ECTS)

Individual courses: possible (3.0 ECTS)