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THINK 41: The Conscious Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Consciousness, Memory, and Personal Identity

How do our common-sense conceptions of the mind and of ourselves hold up against the growing body of psychological and neurobiological knowledge of the brain? How is your mental life anchored to your physical self?nYou wake up from a dreamless sleep and suddenly everything's buzzing with color and sound. Somehow your brain sustains this rich landscape of experience, integrating it with a repertoire of memories to constitute yourself. This course probes the neurobiological bases of these familiar yet miraculous facets of the mind. You'll learn to analyze primary philosophical and scientific texts, using basic knowledge of the brain to assess and even innovate experiments that could shed light on the nature of consciousness and personal identity.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 45: Thinking About the Universe: What do we know? How do we know it?

What is the origin and ultimate fate of the universe? Can we know what came before the universe? Are there ultimate limits to human knowledge about the universe and are we reaching them? Cosmology (the study of the universe) raises profound questions about us, our place in the universe, and about the limits of our knowledge. It was only in the 20th century that cosmology developed from metaphysical and theological speculation to become an observational science and a recognized part of physics. In this course, students will explore questions about the Universe, its beginnings, its structure, its extent, its fate, from several perspectives - philosophical, experimental, and theoretical. We will discuss current research and the ongoing debates about the laws of nature on subatomic scales and the perplexing questions they raise regarding the universe and the limits of scientific inquiry.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 61: Living with Viruses

By examining this interplay of viruses and culture, this course challenges students to think beyond conventional disciplinary distinctions through questions about the impact of biology on human behavior as well as the potential of humans to shape biology through genetic engineering. The specific goals of this course are to engage students to examine the microbial world and how they interact with it. We will examine three overreaching questions: How do viruses effect our lives? How have they shaped our culture? How will they shape our future? Topics covered will include the question of whether a virus is alive, the importance of immunity, and the role of viruses in not only human culture but what makes us distinctly human.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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