The PNP program reflects a growing awareness among philosophers of mind of the importance of an informed interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mind/brain. Key elements of such an interdisciplinary approach include knowledge of cognitive neuroscience, psychology and artificial intelligence. The advent of new and powerful brain imaging techniques such as PET (positron-Emission Tomography) scanning and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), along with the increasing use of computational models of neural systems, has given rise to the field of cognitive neuroscience as a rich arena for interdisciplinary cooperation.
Washington University enjoys an international reputation as a center of excellence in this field; neuroscience faculty have pioneered the use of these imaging techniques and conduct front-line research in computational neural modeling. The Department of Psychology is increasingly involved in research projects which forge links with neuroscientific studies in areas such as language processing, attention and memory, while the Department of Computer Science has a number of researchers in artificial intelligence and neural networks, who offer courses that are accessible to PNP students. The Department of Philosophy offers a range of courses specifically tailored for PNP, in addition to the courses that serve students in the department's regular Ph.D. Program. This confluence of resources and skills makes Washington University an ideal arena in which to train the next generation of philosophers of the mind-brain.