The URL for this syllabus is http://aristotle.tamu.edu/~rasmith/Courses/Mind/. Please check it periodically for updates and changes.
This course is a survey of the set of philosophical issues concerning thinking, consciousness, and related notions that has been known, since the early 20th century, as the philosophy of mind. We will study this through reading a set of selections from philosophers. Although most of our readings are from relatively recent figures, the issues themselves have been discussed by philosophers since the beginnings of western philosophy in ancient Greece.
Overall, this course has three objectives:
David Rosenthal, The Nature of Mind (Oxford University Press, 1991).
|Exam 1||25%||Oct. 9|
|Exam 2||25%||Nov. 11 (CHANGED)|
|Exam 3||25%||Dec. 12, 3:00 PM|
|Term paper (8-10 pages)||25%||Due Dec. 15|
The exams for the course are intended to test your familiarity with and understanding of the course readings and your ability to follow, criticize, and develop a philosophical argument. The term paper, on a more focused topic concerning the philosophy of mind, will be evaluated with respect to how well you have researched the philosophical literature on your subject, how accurately and clearly you present the arguments offered by other philosophers, and how insightful you are in analyzing or criticizing those positions or in developing your own view.
The schedule below is subject to change, as necessary, to accommodate the pace of the class. If it is necessary to postpone an exam, there will be at least a week's notice (posted here and announced in class); exams will NOT be moved up to earlier dates.
|Sept. 2||About the class|
|Sept. 4||Cartesian minds||Descartes, Meditations II (Online), VI (Online); Discourse on Method 5 [Rosenthal pp. 21-29, 34-35]|
|Sept. 9||Ryle and 'Category Mistakes'||Ryle, "Descartes's Myth" [Rosenthal 4]|
|Sept. 11||Minds and Living Beings||Matthews, "Consciousness and Life" [Rosenthal 6]|
|Sept. 16||Incorrigibility||Shoemaker, "How Is Self-Knowledge Possible?"; Armstrong, "Is Introspective Knowledge Incorrigible?" [Rosenthal 12, 13]|
|Sept. 18||Mind and Body||Smart, "Sensations and Brain Processes" [Rosenthal 17]|
|Sept. 23||Armstrong, "The Causal Theory of Mind" [Rosenthal 19]|
|Sept. 25||Functionalism||Putnam, "The Nature of Mental States" [Rosenthal 21]|
|Sept. 30||Functionalism||Block, "Troubles with Functionalism" [Rosenthal 23]|
|Oct. 2||Some Class Notes for Exam 1|
|Oct. 7||Overview: Identity Theories||See these class notes|
|Oct. 9||EXAM 1||
Sample questions for exam 1 (changes
A version of Exam 1 with answers (pdf format)
|Oct. 14||Kripke on Identity||Kripke, extract from Naming and Necessity [Rosenthal 25]|
|Oct. 16||Kripke continued|
|Oct. 21||'Anomalous Monism'||Davidson, "Mental Events" [Rosenthal 26]|
|Oct. 23||Davidson continued|
|Oct. 28||Supervenient Causation||Kim, "Epiphenomenalism and Supervenient Causation" [Rosenthal 27]|
|Oct. 30||Eliminativism||Feyerabend, "Mental Events and the Brain"; Quine, "States of Mind" [Rosenthal 28, 30]|
|Nov. 4||Eliminativism||Churchland, "Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes" [Rosenthal 61]|
|Nov. 6||EXAM 2 HAS BEEN CHANGED TO NOV. 11||Sample Questions for Exam 2 (see also the class notes, which now include notes on Kripke, Davidson, and Kim)|
|Nov. 13||Qualia||Jackson, "What Mary Didn't Know" [Rosenthal 42]|
|Nov. 18||Qualia, continued||Shoemaker, "Functionalism and Qualia" [Rosenthal 43]|
|Nov. 20||Intentionality||Dennett, "True Believers: The Intentional Strategy and Why It Works" [Rosenthal 36]|
|Nov. 25||Intentionality and Consciousness||Nagel, "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" [Rosenthal 46]|
|Nov. 27-28||Thanksgiving Break|
|Dec. 2||Searle's 'Chinese Room'||Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Programs" [Rosenthal 55]|
|Dec. 4||Searle vs. Fodor||Searle-Fodor Exchange [Rosenthal 55]|
|Dec. 9||Some Slack Time|
|Dec. 10-11||Dead days|
|Dec. 12||Final exam 3-5 PM||Sample Questions for Exam 3 (see also the class notes, which now include notes on Jackson, Nagel, Shoemaker, and Searle)|
|Dec. 15||TERM PAPERS DUE|
Please see the Texas A&M University Student Rules, Section 20 for definitions of types of academic dishonesty and the penalties that can be imposed. Note in particular the definition of plagiarism:
Failing to credit sources used in a work product in an attempt to pass off the work as one's own. Attempting to receive credit for work performed by another, including papers obtained in whole or in part from individuals or other sources.
Just to make this point clear: submitting a term paper taken from an Internet paper service, in whole or in part, is academic dishonesty. Submitting such a paper and including an acknowledgment that it was taken from a paper service is academic dishonesty plus a confession.
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