The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE 719:
Fall 2009


This is a living document; the latest version will always be available on the Web at:

Last Update: 9 December 2009

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Index: Other Relevant Links:
  • Course Description
  • 719 homepage
  • Prerequisites
  • Directory of Documents
  • Staff
  • Bibliography
  • Class Meetings
  • Email Archive
  • Texts
  • Important Dates & Tentative Schedule
  • Reading
  • Attendance, Assignments, Listserv
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity
  • Classroom Disruptions





    Lecture Rapaport 079694 F 1:00–3:50 P.M. Bell 242


    I have ordered four books, but they should all be considered merely as "recommended" reading:

    1. Anderson, John R. (2007), How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? (New York: Oxford University Press); isbn=9780195324259

    2. Blackmore, Susan (2005), Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press); isbn=978-0-19-280585-0

    3. McDermott, Drew V. (2001), Mind and Mechanism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press); isbn=978-0-262-13392-0

    4. O'Shea, Michael (2005), The Brain: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press); isbn=978-0-19-285392-9

    The primary readings will almost all be online.


    Note: I am continuing to update the topics and readings to reflect both what we actually did and when we did it, as well as a more accurate prediction about what we will be doing and when we will be doing it.

    Sep 4 General Introduction;
      Mind-Body Problem
      (discussion of Descartes,
      What is the mind?)
    What is the mind?

    For next time:

      11 Consciousness: Basic Issues
      (discussion of Leibniz, et al.)
    For next time:
    (readings will always be for the next time)
      18 Cognitive-Neuroscientific Theories
      (discussion of Crick, Koch, Edelman)
    Baars 1988 (Ch. 2)
    Dehaene & Naccache 2001
    Dennett & Kinsbourne 1992
      25 Psychological Theories
      (discussion of Baars, Dehaene);

    Philosophical Theories

      (discussion of Dennett)
    Nagel 1974
    Jackson 1982 or Jackson 1986
    Block 1995
    Chalmers 1997
    Oct 2 Philosophical Theories (cont'd):
      (discussion of Dennett, cont'd;
      discussion of Nagel, Jackson, Block, Chalmers )
    Rosenthal 1986
      9 Philosophical theories (cont'd):
      (discussion of Chalmers, cont'd;
      discussion of Rosenthal)
    Putnam 1964
    Weyrauch 1995
    Steels 1995
    Perlis 1997
      16 Towards a Computational Theory
      (discussion of Putnam, Weyrauch, Steels, Perlis)
    McDermott 2001, 2007
    Franklin 2003
    Baars & Franklin 2009
    Franklin et al. 2009
      23 Anderson's report on McDermott 2001;
    & discussion of McDermott 2007

    Implemented Computational Theories:

    • discussion of Baars & Franklin
    Holland 2003
    Miscellaneous Readings on Computational Consciousness
      30 Implemented theories (cont'd): Dautenhahn 2005
    Torrance et al. 2007
    Chella & Manzotti 2007a
    Nov 6 Implemented theories (cont'd):
    • Chang's report on Dautenhan 2005
    • Mauzy's report on Torrance et al. 2007
    • Ramnauth's report on Chella & Manzotti 2007a
      (part 1)
    Shapiro & Bona 2009
    Chella & Manzotti 2007b
      13 Implemented theories (cont'd):
    • Shapiro: SNePS/GLAIR
    • Ramnauth's report on Chella & Manzotti 2007a
      (part 2)
    • Gezella's report on Chella & Manzotti 2007b
      (part 1)
    Buttazzo & Manzotti 2008
    Boltuc 2008
    Int'l. J. Machine Consciousness 1(2009)
      20 Implemented theories (cont'd):
    • Gezella's report on Chella & Manzotti 2007b
      (part 2)
    • Jensen's report on Buttazzo & Manzotti 2008
    • Ray's report on Boltuc 2008
    Moor 1988
    Anderson & Lebiere 2003
    Anderson 2007: 243–247
    Floridi 2005
      27 No Class: Thanksgiving  
    Dec 7 Implemented theories (cont'd):
    • Zeng's report on IJMC 1(2009)

    Tests of Consciousness:

      Moor, Anderson, Floridi
    final readings
      11 NEW link:
    Summary & Review
    (Monday) 14 Term papers due  


    "Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." — Chinese Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." — American Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you must convince him it is water before there is any chance he will drink." — Albert Goldfain

    "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire" — William Butler Yeats

    "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." — Sir Richard Steele


    "The more you read, the more intelligent you are. It's really that simple." — Ethan Hawke


    "To read critically is to read skeptically. The reader [should] ask…not only, ‘Do I understand what this means?’ but ‘Do I buy it?’" — Kenneth S. Goodman

    1. This is a graduate seminar. I will assume that you are all mature enough to read all assigned readings as well as at least some of the other readings that might be relevant.

    2. Reading Journal:

      To help you keep track of your reading and the ideas you have while reading, you might find it useful to keep a "Reading Journal": For each item you read, copy interesting quotes (or at least full references to them) and—most importantly—include your comments on them and on the issues raised in each item you read. (For suggestions on how to do this, see the
      "Keep a Notebook" section of my "How to Study" guide on the Web.) An alternative is to write a 1-paragraph commentary on each reading: some insight or idea that struck you from the reading, an extension or application of the ideas, a question that the reading inspired (perhaps informed by some further reading on your part), or any other commentary inspired by the reading. The commentaries should not be summaries of the reading.(*)



    1. You will be expected to:

      1. attend all meetings of the seminar (attendance will be taken),
      2. participate in class discussions,
      3. do at least one oral presentation (see below),
      4. write a term paper (see below).

    2. Any important announcements will be made in lecture. Therefore, be sure to get a classmate's phone number or email address (for instance, 1 or 2 people sitting next to you in class, whoever they are!) so that you will not miss announcements in the unlikely event that you miss a class.

      Announcements may also be posted to the course website or the email Listserv.

    3. Email Listserv:

      You will automatically be placed on an email list (a "Listserv") for the course. If you do not normally read email at the email address that UB has as your official address, please either do so for this course, or else have your mail forwarded. I will use this list as my main means of communicating with you out of class. And you can use it to communicate with the rest of us.

      You may send questions and comments that are of general interest to the entire class using the Listserv: Just send them to:

      You can also send email just to me, at:

      In any case, be sure to fill in the subject line, beginning with "CSE719" so that my mailer doesn't think it's spam.

      If you send email just to me that I deem to be of general interest, I will feel free to remail it to the email list along with my reply unless you explicitly tell me that you want to remain anonymous, in which case I may choose to remail it to the email list preserving your anonymity.

      The emails will be archived at the listserv website, and I will also archive them at

      For more information, read the Listserv Information webpage.


      You will be expected to make at least one oral presentation covering material that we will all read, but that you will lead the discussion on. Here are some options:

      1. One of the anthologies on the bibliography.
      2. One researchers multiple papers in several anthologies (e.g., Aleksander's papers)
      3. McDermott 2001

      We will make explicit assignments in class; other options will have to be approved by me in advance.


      The term paper will normally be a written version of your oral presentation. Any deviation from this will have to be approved by me in advance.

      All term papers should be about 10–15 pages (preferably closer to 10), double-spaced (i.e., approximately 2500–4000 words), and printed on only one side of the page.

      All reports must follow the writing guidelines in the document "How to Write", which also contains helpful hints on American English punctuation and usage.

      The term paper is due no later than Monday, December 14 (which is the first day of final exams).

    6. Students should notify Prof. Rapaport within the first two weeks of class if they have a disability which would make it difficult to carry out course work as outlined (requiring note-takers, readers, extended test time, etc.).



    It is University policy that a grade of Incomplete is to be given only when a small amount of work or a single exam is missed due to circumstances beyond the student's control, and that student is otherwise doing passing work. I will follow this policy strictly! Thus, you should assume that I will not give incompletes :-)

    Any incompletes that I might give, in a lapse of judgment :-), will have to be made up by the end of the
    Spring 2010

    For more information on Incomplete policies, see the Graduate School web page, "Incomplete Grades".


    While it is acceptable to discuss general approaches with your fellow students, the work you turn in must be your own. It is the policy of the CSE department that any violation of academic integrity will result in an F for the course, that all CSE-departmental financial support including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or scholarships be terminated, that notification of this action be placed in the student's confidential departmental record, and that the student be permanently ineligible for future CSE-departmental financial support. If you have any problems doing the assignments, consult Prof. Rapaport. Please be sure to read these webpages:

    which spell out all the details of this, and related, policies.

    For some hints on how to avoid plagiarism when writing essays for courses, see my website "Plagiarism".


    In large classes (but surely not ours :-), students have been known to be disruptive, either to the instructor or to fellow students. The university's policies on this topic, both how the instructor should respond and how students should behave, may be found in the PDF document "Obstruction or Disruption in the Classroom".

    (*) The idea and wording for such reading-commentaries are borrowed from the assignments for Stuart M. Shieber's course "Can Machines Think". [Back to text]

    Copyright © 2009 by William J. Rapaport (