Most of the things we associate with thinking take place in the brain (though, there are good reasons to believe bodies do a lot for thinking, too). Given that we believe brains perform many of the functions of minds, what philosophical insights can we gain by understanding how brains do what they do?
Strictly speaking, science is not a substitute for philosophy, but neuroscience and psychology can provide us with insights that mere introspection might miss. Also, a basic understanding of neural networks may help us frame philosophical questions in a more responsible fashion.
Neural networks can learn, create abstractions, perform pattern recognition, and are responsible for attention (and inattentional blindness). And much of what these networks do happens below the level of conscious awareness.
We'll start by talking about what neural networks do and how they do it. Then we'll discuss two related philosophical questions in light of our scientific models of the brain.
1) How does our understanding of brain function mesh with Kant's picture of cognition?
2) Does neuroscience help us understand Wittgenstein's discussion of language in Philosophical Investigations?
No special preparation is required, but I'll try to post some notes on the message board, and update links here in advance.
I've uploaded some notes here:
Also, this video gives some useful background at the 5 minute mark: http://youtu.be/A8sHMcCk0lU?t=5m27s (just watch about 15 minutes).