Philosophy 3

Summer 2015 Session D

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
3 The Nature of Mind Sethi MTuWTh 12-2 3111 Etcheverry

This class is an introduction to the fundamental issues in the study of mind. Appeals to mental states are ubiquitous in our every day life: “I really wanted to see the new Woody Allen movie, but I was quite disappointed.” “If you believe that equality is important, you should come to the protest on Saturday.” “Can you give me an Aspirin, I have a splitting headache.” “I just experienced the most beautiful sunset.” Fundamental to our understanding of others and ourselves is the fact that we’re conscious beings with minds and that our conscious mental states explain our behaviors and are essential to our identities. But what is consciousness and what does it mean to have a mind? What are mental states such as beliefs and desires and perceptions? How does the mind fit into the ordinary physical universe that is composed entirely of soul-less atoms? Is there room for consciousness within a scientific worldview? Do our mental states ever genuinely cause our behavior or are they mere shadows of our purely mechanistic brains?

In this class, we will learn about different views of consciousness, including Dualism, Behaviorism, Identity Theory and Functionalism. Along the way, we will consider powerful objections that have been posed to each of these views, always with an eye to understanding what the central challenge is to making room for consciousness in the natural order of things.

This is an introductory class in philosophy and so we will also learn the basic tools of philosophical thinking and writing. No prerequisites.