|The Nature of Mind
This course is an introduction to the philosophical study of the mind. We will start off by investigating the Mind-Body problem: that is, how exactly are the mind and body related to one another? Are they two wholly separate things? Or is the mind just identical to the brain? Alternatively, the mind might just be a computer program, with the implication that machines could be capable of thought and other mental states. We will study the strong and weak points of all of these theories: Dualism, Identity Theory, Behaviorism and Functionalism. We will go on to look at the phenomenon of consciousness. We will ask: what is consciousness? Can we describe it scientifically? What is special about the conscious states that we refer to as “emotions”? We will end the course by studying how we should regard the content of our mental states. In essence, we will try to see if content is internally or externally determined. How much does the environment in which we are placed get into our heads? Again, the overarching theme and goal of this question, as well as all the others, will be a deeper understanding of how our minds and the physical world around us are related.