HISTORY 196 - First Year Seminar in Social Sciences
Section: 002 Other Minds
Term: FA 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

If you can read this, you have a mind. This may seem obvious, but the long history of the science of “other minds” suggests otherwise. Since the nineteenth century, psychologists have tried to answer questions about existence, identity, and rationality by probing the minds of others: not only other people, but also other species and even machines. What scientists have found through this research is often surprising, and sometimes disturbing.

This course examines the promise and pitfalls of using “other minds” to learn about ourselves. Each week, we will focus on historical and current studies of a different group that scientists have used to explore topics such as morality, language, and memory. Our subjects will include rats, dogs, and primates, of course, but also ants, octopuses, and artificial intelligence. Throughout the course, our focus will be on the unspoken assumptions—and unexpected consequences—of using “other minds” as proxies for our own.

Course Requirements:

In addition to regular participation in class, students will complete three short papers on an “other mind” of their choice: a primary source analysis, a current events piece, and a historical argument.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute seminar discussions per week.

HISTORY 196 - First Year Seminar in Social Sciences
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
18Enrollment Management
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (SEM)
18Enrollment Management
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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