Exploring the key concepts and problems of philosophy in the age of artificial intelligence

Module details

  • Offered to 3rd & 4th Years
  • Thursdays 16.00-18.00
  • Planned delivery: Online
  • Two-term module, worth 5 ECTS
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit, or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

Embark on an interdisciplinary journey into 20th and 21st-century philosophy, focusing on meaning, representation, ethics, and Artificial Intelligence. The central topic is meaning: what does it mean for something to mean something? (Confused? …exactly!)

Explore analytic philosophy, ordinary language philosophy, and phenomenology, while delving into philosophy of language, existential phenomenology, and AI ethics. This course sharpens logic and reasoning, develops decision-making, encourages high-level debate, and fosters appreciation for diverse scientific disciplines. Through engaging discussions, interactive activities, and tailored content, deepen your understanding of contemporary philosophical methods and AI.

Please note: The information on this module description is indicative. The module may undergo minor modifications before the start of next academic year. 

Information blocks

On successful completion of this module, you will be better able to:Contemporary Art

  • Recognise and evaluate the relevance of philosophy to you as science and engineering students
  • Contribute to high-level debate on/appraise advanced topics, even when the problem exceeds your understanding
  • Develop and demonstrate sensitivity to differences between the skills of different scientific disciplines
  • Synthesise, explain, interpret and analyse texts and sources
  • Demonstrate ability to go beyond critical summary and generalise to a relatively mature defence of your own position
  • Historical background to problems of contemporary philosophy
  • Sense and nonsense
  • The semantics/pragmatics interface
  • The Mind/Body problem. Knowing how and know that
  • Speech act theory
  • Language-games and forms of life
  • Determinism and free will
  • Phenomenology of consciousness
  • The ontological difference
  • The analytic of Da-sein
  • Modern existentialism
  • Applications of existential phenomenology
  • Analytic philosophy and philosophy of language
  • Ethics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Philosophy of AI
A range of fun discussion activities and language games/puzzles will be used to make learning active and uniquely interactive. Though you would benefit from some guided preparation for sessions, including videos or selected passages of text, you will be encouraged to regard the sessions themselves as the times when you study for the module. You will have the exciting opportunity to decide what you think, not told what to think, and will be awarded the time to do this in class, in addition to any private study after class. You will be warmly invited to respond to presentations from the module leader and to listen and respond to other students’ responses. Content may be personalised each year based on student interest and knowledge, so you will have the chance to express yourself and suggestions are warmly invited during lectures.

Live teaching sessions will be augmented digitally in the following ways: there is a module VLE, augmented by the Imperial College Library reading (Leganto) list. This means that you will have all the materials you need available digitally and in accessible format. Interactive tools will be used to augment learning, particularly breakout groups/group discussion, polls etc. Podcasts (Philosophy Bites, In Our Time, etc.) and videos (YouTube, Vimeo) may be used. Panopto recordings of live sessions will be made available.
Contemporary Philosophy uses a VLE, with all materials available online, with digital and accessible versions provided; and summative assessments are submitted via the online portal. Feedback to the essay will be provided through Turnitin, with personalised feedback potentially, but not always, including one or more of the following, where available and relevant: individual comments on the text, overall appraisal of your work, a breakdown of the grade based on the available marking scheme, and suggested points of improvement (on a case-by-case basis).

Due to the very high degree of personalisation mentioned above, written feedback and expected turnaround of such will vary depending on the particular cohort and external feedback. Questions about one's own performance are always welcome. Please note that all marks are in the first instance provisional and can change at any point before they are finalised, through either internal or external feedback, including modifications of the grade or addition of extra feedback. Additional formative feedback includes in-class feedback from the lecturer, as well as peers, on class exercises/discussions.

40%: Multiple-choice Question online problem sheet/test (MCQ). This test, taken at the end of Term 1, in the form of a problem sheet taken through Blackboard, can be taken multiple times and encourages deeper understanding of taught material.

60%: 1,500-2,000 word essay. Chosen from a list of set questions and submitted after Term 2, this essay is designed to consolidate your knowledge and provide an opportunity to develop your writing skills.

  • Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments and preparing for other assessments.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 6 module. For an explanation of levels, view the Imperial Horizons Level Descriptors page.‌‌
"The module leader was one of the most approachable I have ever had. He is enthusiastic about his subject and inspires the students to learn about philosophy."
"Cosmin Badea is a real charm in delivering this module."
"This module is incredibly enjoyable, thought provoking and challenging. It's given me some interesting life skills in appreciation of the workings of the human mind."
"Definitely intellectually stimulating. Very good course content."
"I loved this module, it was a great change from what we usually do at imperial and a very stimulating subject, which was a starting point to many interesting thoughts and discussions outside class as well."