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MA Philosophy of Mind 2013/14

Convenor: Sarah Patterson
Lecturers: Charlie Pelling, Sarah Patterson

Introductory Reading

An excellent place to begin is
– Davies, M. ‘Philosophy of Mind’ in Grayling, A (ed.) Philosophy 1: A Guide Through The Subject

Also recommended
– Crane, T. Elements of Mind

– McGinn, C. The Character of Mind

– Heil, J. Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

Essential Reading
Essential readings for individual classes are listed below. All except those for week 10 are reprinted in:

Chalmers, D. (ed.) Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings.

Mind and Body

Term 1, Weeks 1-5
Dr Charlie Pelling

What is the relation between mind and body? This is a central question in Philosophy Mind, and it is one which continues to divide opinion. In these seminars, we shall look at some of the most influential theories and arguments which have been developed in this area. Key questions which we shall consider along the way include: Are there good reasons to think that our minds are separate from our bodies? How are our minds related to our observable behaviour? How are our minds related to the internal states of our brains? Can we explain consciousness in physical terms?

1. Dualism
Reading: Descartes, R. Meditations on First Philosophy, Second and Sixth Meditations

2. Behaviourism
Reading: Ryle, G. ‘Descartes’ Myth’, Ch. 1 of his The Concept of Mind

3. Identity Theory
Reading: Smart, J. ‘Sensations and Brain Processes’ Philosophical Review 68 (1959), 141-56

4. The knowledge argument
Reading: Jackson, F. ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’, Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1982), 127 - 136

5. The explanatory gap
Reading: McGinn, C. ‘Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?’, Mind 98 (1989), 349-366

Non-reductive Physicalism; Mental Content

Term 1, Weeks 6-10
Dr Sarah Patterson

We will begin the second part of the course by looking at two influential forms of non-reductive physicalism: functionalism and anomalous monism. We will then examine the argument that such views are unable to allow for genuinely mental causation. Finally, we will look at two approaches to the problem of explaining mental content.

6. Functionalism
Reading: Putnam, H. ‘The Nature of Mental States’ and Block, N. ‘Troubles with Functionalism’ (excerpt in Chalmers collection)

7. Anomalous Monism
Reading: Davidson, D. ‘Mental Events’

8. Mental Causation
Reading: Kim, J. ‘The Many Problems of Mental Causation’ (excerpt in Chalmers collection) and Yablo, S. ‘Mental Causation’

9. Mental Content I
Reading: Dretske, F. ‘A Recipe for Thought’

10. Mental Content II
Reading: Block, N. ‘Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1986), 615-678 (not in Chalmers) and Fodor, J. and LePore, E. ‘Why Meaning (Probably) Isn’t Conceptual Role’, Mind & Language 6 (1991), 328-343 (not in Chalmers)

Learning Development