COGSCI 300/PHIL 356 - Intelligence

COGSCI 300/PHIL 356 - Intelligence

Taught Winter 2023

COGSCI 300/PHIL 356: Intelligence in Machines, Humans, and Other Animals

Course outline

Instructor: Chris Eliasmith (email)

Office: E7 6324

Office Hours: By appointment

Location: PAS 2083

Times: Tues/Thurs 4:00-5:20p

Due Dates:

  • Feb 2: Case study chosen
  • Feb 9-16: One page write-up due on your presentation date
  • Mar 2: Midterm essay due
  • Mar 16: Final essay topics picked
  • Apr 21: Final essay due

Please use the course email, for all course related correspondence.

Lecture Notes

The in-class lecture notes will be posted here before each class.


The readings for the entire course can be accessed in this folder. The order and specific pages to read are listed on the course outline. The first word of the .pdf file corresponds to the word on the course outline.


At the beginning of each lecture you are required to submit a ~100 word commentary on the claim, hypothesis, or issue that you found most interesting in the reading. Your commentary should identify the claim that interests you and the strongest evidence for and against it. The purpose of these commentaries is to ensure that everyone comes to class prepared for discussion. There is no penalty for missing 3. There will be approximately 20 over the term. Commentaries should be handed in on paper.

Case Studies

You are required to find material on a case study of intelligence (machine, human, or animal) not covered in class. A list of keywords is linked below. When you have decided on a keyword, you must inform the instructor via email and it will be removed from the list of available keywords. You can also propose keywords not on the list. For the case study, students must prepare a 5 min presentation (2-3 slides) to present in class, and hand in a 1 page write up on the case. Students can request a presentation date in the scheduled dates on a first come first served basis.

Peer Feedback

Students must provide 100 word constructive feedback and questions for 5 other student presentations. A maximum of 2 of these can be on presentations in the same day. Feedback can be emailed to the course email on the day of the presentation, with the subject line being the presenting student's name. Feedback will be provided to the presenting student.

Essay Information

You will write two essays for this class, in addition to the case study. The midterm essay is a maximum of 5 pages and the final essay is a maximum of 10 pages. Topics and additional information can be found on the following page:

More information