May 26, 2020  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PHIL 2023 - Searching for Intelligent Life

3 (3-0)

The appearance of intelligent, problem-solving creatures in the natural world is the occasion of philosophical mystery. We will explore the power and origins of intelligent life on planet Earth and trace the appearance of intelligence in two very different forms of life - hominids and cephalopods (notably in octopuses). We will also be considering the possibility of vegetal intelligence, and what “intelligence” itself might mean in the plant world. Along the way, we will explore the manifestations of the intense efforts life exerts to sustain itself through complex coordination between perception and action, and how the need to focus this action leads to the development of the nervous system, and ultimately, consciousness.

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