SPM Senior Research Seminar, Fall 2006

SPM 499, W 1:30 – 4:20

Professor William Seeley, 323 Stager Hall

Office Hours: T,W,Th 12:00 – 1:00*


* (I can also be found most weekdays at the Lancaster Ice Rink from 10:30-11:30—bring your skates)



Requirements: The goal of this class is to familiarize you with the processes involved in professional research in philosophy & cognitive science. This is a hands-on process that can be divided into several stages: coming up with an idea; generating a references list from a literature survey; generating a philosophical thesis or empirical hypothesis; building an argument or designing an experiment; fleshing out your argument or hypothesis into a paper. I have broken these steps out into a set of required assignments. The purpose of these assignments is to set intermediate goals in the writing process and generate feedback.


1.   Submit a list of core references for your paper. You should spend the first week

      conducting a literature search to collect a manageable number of references for your

      seminar paper topic.

2.   Submit a short prospectus. This is an abstract for you seminar paper. It should contain

      a clear thesis statement and the bare bones of the argument you hope to derive from

      your core reference list. In addition to the submitted draft of this document each student

      will be required to present the argument informally to the class.

3.   Submit an annotated bibliography. You should familiarize your self early on with the

      arguments in your core references. The annotated bibliography includes a paragraph on

      each core reference describing its main thesis and why this argument is important to the

      issue you intend to evaluate in your seminar paper.

4.   Submit a full prospectus. This a 6 page paper that lays out the structure of your paper

      and the details of your argument in schematic form.

5.   Presentation of the full prospectus. Each student distribute his or her prospectus and

      give a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation of their arguments to the class.

6.   Submit a rough draft. Each student is required to submit a full rough draft of their

      seminar paper at the mid-term.

7.   Topical presentations. Each student is required to choose two of the central issues or

      core references from their seminar paper and prepare a PowerPoint presentation for the

      class. The student should inform the class of the appropriate readings in advance. The

      purpose of this assignment is to get you to really work through the arguments in your

      paper as you prepare your final draft.

8.   SUBMIT YOUR FINAL DRAFT on eDisk by December 13.



Readings & Presentations: A critical component of this class is peer discussion and feedback. In general the structure of class meetings will revolve around student presentations of current research. Each of you will be required to give a presentation of your prospectus and a topical presentation of some of the material from your final paper. For these assignments you will be required to distribute your work (the prospectus or the relevant part of your paper) and a supplementary reading. Your colleagues are likewise required to prepare questions and constructive comments for you to drive the discussion. I have assigned target readings for the first several weeks. The purpose of these readings is to give you a sense of interdisciplinary research in cognitive science. My field of research is philosophy of neuroscience. I have chosen readings that address the issue of what a fruitful collaboration between philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience might look like. However, this bias is by no means intended as a constraint on your research for the class.



Assignments: Each of your written assignments and presentations will be graded. Your final grade for the semester will reflect the quality of your work throughout the semester.


August 30: discussion of potential topics



September 6: references list (6 – 10 target papers)


Bechtel and Mundale:

Multiple Realizability Revisited

Philosophy of Science, 66:2, 1998, pp. 175-207.




Vision, Chapter 1, pp. 24-29 (3 levels of explanation)  




Artificial Intelligence, pp. 58-63 (functional equivalence)                                  




September 13: prospectus #1 (1 page single spaced)



Of sensory systems and the aboutness of mental states

Journal of Philosophy 93:7, 1996, pp. 337-332.                                            




September 20: annotated bibliography


Kozbelt & Seeley

Integrating Art Historical, Psychological, and Neuroscientific Explanations of ArtistsŐ

Advantages in Drawing & Perception,

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 2007



Miall and Tchalenko:               

A PainterŐs Eye Movements

Leonardo 34:1, 2001, pp. 35-40.



Tchalenko, Dempere-Marco, Hu, & Yang:

Eye Movement and Voluntary Control in Portrait Drawing                    

in eds. J. HyšnŠ, R. Radach, & H. Deubel, The MindŐs Eye: Cognitive and Applied

Aspects of Eye Movement Research (New York: Elsevier Science, Ltd.), 2003, pp. 705 –





Attentional Response Modulation in the Human Visual System

In ed. M. I. Posner, The Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention (New York: Guilford), 2004.




September 27: prospectus #2 (6 page argument or literature review)


October 4: presentations of prospectus #2


October 11: presentations of prospectus #2


October 18: rough draft


October 25: topical presentations


November 1: topical presentations


November 8: first revisions


November 15: topical presentations




November 29: topical presentations


December 6: second revisions & topical presentations


December 13: Exam Week - Paper Due