The Teaching Page
Course Materials and Resources
My professional teaching career began in 1994 after completing a degree in commercial computing at Griffith University in Australia. Since then I have convened and lectured courses covering more than twenty-five different subject areas, mainly in the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence, and more recently in phenomenological philosophy. These courses have been delivered at undergraduate, honours, and masters levels across all three campuses of Griffith University, at the University of Sussex, and at the Free University Brighton (FUB).
I was also the founder and director of the Cognitive Computing Unit reasearch group at Griffith University and have supervised more than twenty research students, leading to the publication of ten PhDs, one MPhil, two Masters and ten Honours theses.
In 2015 I retired from full-time academic work and now teach philosophy at the Free University Brighton, devoting the rest of my intellectual life to writing and self-inquiry. This page contains links to teaching material and lecture recordings from three of the courses I have recently taught at FUB: Introduction to Phenomenology, Science, Consciousness and the Brain, and Language and Meaning.
The page also contains a link to complete set of teaching materials for The Foundations of Computing – a course I developed and taught at Griffith University from 2003 to 2015. This material is supplemented by a textbook I created for the course entitled The Foundations of Computing and the Information Technology Age. I have made these resources available in case someone else should like to pick up the mantle of explaining the meaning and significance of information technology to a world that believes it no longer has time for such concerns.
Introduction to Phenomenology
Course Outline: Introduction to Phenomenology is a level one introductory course that is part of a larger three module Philosophy of Consciousness series. The other higher level modules in the series are Science, Consciousness and the Brain, and Language and Meaning. Both these courses assume students have already completed this introductory course. The idea of The Introduction to Phenomenology is to guide each participant into an immediate experience of what it means to engage in a phenomenological inquiry. So the course is less concerned with conveying information about phenomenology, and more concerned with students gaining direct insight into the state of witnessing that Husserl first encountered in his Logical Investigations at the turn of the nineteenth century. Here we take the way of The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (Husserl’s last published work). Along this way we examine Husserl’s understanding of phenomenology as the natural outcome of the evolution of Western philosophy from Descartes to Kant. And then we go into the heart of his work by examining and enacting his phenomenological reduction.
Science, Consciousness and the Brain
Course Outline: This module continues our investigation into the question of what it means to be conscious in the light of the phenomenological philosophical investigations of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Here we look in more detail at Husserl and Heidegger’s understandings of science and using this perspective consider our contemporary scientific understandings of consciousness. This questioning of science will include an examination of the development of the scientific worldview within which scientific conceptions of consciousness have been framed, and an examination of recently developed theories concerning the kinds of physical brain processes that could be associated with first-person conscious experience (looking particularly at predictive coding models). The final aim is to examine how such an objective, scientific understanding of consciousness can be related back to a phenomenological understanding of consciousness as it is revealed in immediate conscious experience.
Language and Meaning
The Foundations of Computing
Course Outline: The Foundations of Computing provides students with an historical perspective on information technology, introducing the ideas and developments that have been significant in shaping modern technological society, describing and defining computing and computer technology, and looking at the impact of this technology on the contemporary world. The aim is to gain an informed critical perspective from which to assess both the positive and negative aspects of current and future applications of information technology.
The course content provides a general introduction to computing and computer technology by first tracing the historical development of modern technological society and then looking in more detail at information technology and its impact on the modern world. Here we will examine the principles behind modern computer architectures and languages, concentrating on the broader significance of computing in the intellectual, social and economic development of the modern world. Topics covered include:
- Historical roots of technological society
- The nature of scientific investigation
- History of computing
- Theoretical and technical basis of computing
- The impact of information technology on the individual and society
- Computation and intelligence