Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some Proposed Readings

This reading group will span both winter and spring quarters. (But don't panic! You are not required to stick around if you can't or don't want to.)

Here is a list of proposed readings (with links to the text where possible) that would span 18 sessions. We can add, delete, replace, restructure as we see fit. And we can hold more or fewer sessions (as things are, we would be able to take 10th week and finals week off each quarter). The list is broken down into several themes. Let's discuss this at our first meeting.

1. Introduction:
“Life Begins at Rewirement” (short film)

“Learning to Be Me”
Egan pdf

2. “The Strange Science of Immortality”

“Mapping the Human Connectome”

3. “Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong”

The Singularity:
4. “Today’s Computers, Intelligent Machines and Our Future”

“What is the Singularity?”

5. “Achieving the Software of Human Intelligence: How to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain”
Kurzweil(1) pdf

6. “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis”

7. Selections from The Conscious Mind
Chalmers pdf

8. “Minds, Brains, and Programs”

“Kurzweil’s Chinese Room”
Kurzweil(2) pdf

9. “Human Immortality”

10. “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?”

Personal Identity and Human Agency:
11. “Personal Identity”

12. “Moral Responsibility and the Self”
Shoemaker pdf

13. “Where Am I?”

14. “Bodies, Selves”

The Desirability of Immortality:
15. “The Immortal”
Borges pdf

16. “Why Immortality Is Not So Bad”


  1. Ben,

    I was thinking maybe we should read something about the Heat Death of the Universe. It seems kinda pertinent. I don't know of any good readings on it though. Maybe I'll ask some peeps who would know better than I.


    1. That sounds good, Zac. If you can easily locate a reading, let me know. Otherwise, I can try to find something. Perhaps we can read it when we read about the simulation argument.