Philosophy 3

Summer 2013 Session A

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
3 The Nature of Mind Andrews MTuWTh 10-12 170 Barrows

We digest, we scrape our knees, our toenails grow. From this perspective we seem to be physical creatures in a physical world. But we also see the red of the tomato, we feel the pangs of longing, our humor is stoked by the nice delivery of a joke. We have a conscious mental life the variety and quality of which is difficult to put into words. From this perspective it may seem very difficult to see ourselves are merely physical organisms. So the problem is this: can both of these perspectives be accounted for within a coherent and broadly natural theory of the mind?

Towards an answer to this question we will study the mind from a philosophical point of view. Our primary question will be: what is the relation between the mind and the physical world? Is the mind part of the physical world? Is our mental life just another physical processes like digestion? Or is it rather that the mind is non-physical in nature and hence that it cannot be accounted for in physical terms?

The study of these questions will involve us with dualism, physicalism, the identity theory, behaviorism, functionalism, the problem of consciousness, personal identity, the neural correlates of consciousness and other related issues. We will read Putnam, Descartes, Hume, Chalmers, Smart, Turing, Nagel, Jackson and others.