PHIL250-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Turing: From the Computer Revolution to the Philosophy of AI

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course tells you (nearly) everything you ever wanted to know about Alan Turing, the birth of the computer, and the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence. It is a problem-based course, equally suitable for Arts, Science, Engineering, and Law students.

Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.

BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317). For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.

Learning Outcomes

In this course you will:

  • Learn in detail about Turing’s contributions to philosophy and computer science
  • Acquire a detailed knowledge of selected core topics in the philosophy of computing
  • Enhance your ability to think independently, systematically, and creatively
  • Improve your verbal skills and analytic reasoning skills
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


15 points in Philosophy, Computer Science, Mathematics, Linguistics, or Psychology; or 30 points in appropriate subjects with approval from the Head of Philosophy.

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 12:00 - 14:00 Karl Popper 612 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 14:00 Karl Popper 612 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Diane Proudfoot


Jack Copeland

Contact Diane or Jack for further information.


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assignment 1 15% Write an online report, maximum word length 750 words, due date end of 3rd week. This assignment is based on material from weeks 1-3 of the course.
Assignment 2 15% Write an online report, maximum word length 750 words, due date end of 6th week. This assignment is based on material from weeks 3-6 of the course.
Essay 35% Write an essay, maximum word length 1500 words (excluding notes and bibliography), due date end of 10th week. This essay/report is based on material from weeks 1-9 of the course.
Final Exam 35% This is a 2-hour formal examination, in which you will answer 2 questions (weighted equally). This examination is based on material from thoughout the course.


Jack Copeland et al., The Turing  Guide (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Course links

Library portal
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)

(*Image: Courtesy of J.P. Bowen.)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All PHIL250 Occurrences

  • PHIL250-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018