The Dennes Room

Philosophy 3

Summer 2020 1st 6wks

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
3 The Nature of Mind Rao MTuWTh 1-3 TBA

In this course, we will be asking two interlinked questions: what kind of thing is a mind, and who has a mind? We will first consider some reasons for thinking that science alone cannot answer the first question, and then go on to examine the plausibility of the most powerful philosophical theories of the mind. Is the mind just a physical thing, or is it a spiritual thing? Or is thinking of the mind as any kind of thing a mistake? Does having a mind just mean that you are behaving a certain way or executing a complex program?

In asking these questions, we will confront two further questions and see the difficulty in giving a response that satisfies them both. How do we know about the minds of other people, and how can we ever doubt our own mental states? In light of these difficulties, can we say that robots have minds, or that animals do, or babies? Is there such a thing as a “hive” mind, or an extended mind?