6.868 / MAS.731

Society of Mind

Spring 2013


Instructor Prof. Marvin Minsky
Teaching Assistants Dylan Holmes (dxh@mit), Robert McIntyre (rlm@mit).
When and where Wednesdays from 7-9pm, in 32-141

Note (31 Jan): This website is under active construction. New content will appear regularly over the next few days.

About the course

The subject of this course is to discuss theories about how minds work. We will emphasize aspects of thinking that are so poorly understood that they are still considered to be more philosophical than scientific. Our goal is to replace ill-defined folk theories of ‘consciousness’, ‘self’ and ‘emotion’ with more concrete computational concepts.

This course centers around two books, Society of Mind and The Emotion Machine. Both books are available in paperback at the Coop, and the full text of The Emotion Machine is also available on Prof. Minsky's homepage.

There are no course prerequisites for 6.868. However, you are expected to have read Society of Mind in advance.

Expectations (yours and ours)

This class takes the form of an interactive seminar, in which you will be able to actively discuss and debate ideas. We expect that you will be thoughtful, inquisitive, and prepared.

Now about your expectations:

Course topics

Week Lecture Preparation Assignment
1 Feb 6 Why it's important to understand intelligence Read the introduction to The Emotion Machine— and, of course, bring your questions to class. Fill out the registration survey, which will be put online shortly.