Phil 100D: Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of Mind is the systematic, abstract study of mental (or psychological) phenomena including our sensations, perceptual experiences, thoughts, beliefs, desires, decisions, choices and emotions.  We will begin with the metaphysics of mind.  What is the mind?  Of what are our thoughts and feelings made up?  What relation do psychological phenomena bear to one another and to physical phenomena? (For example, what is the relation between our pains and the electrochemical events going on in our brains?) After addressing these issues, we move on to discuss various epistemological questions about our thoughts, sensations and experiences.  How do we know what is going on in our minds?  Are the mental facts we discover through introspection irreducible to the physical facts we uncover through sensory perception, experimentation, and theory construction?  Other topics include the nature of our thoughts, beliefs and desires and what conditions need to obtain if a person is to continue to persist through time.  We will concentrate throughout on arguments designed to show: (1) that our minds are not physical, and (2) that there are facts about our minds that cannot be explained using the experimental methods typically used by scientists.

Phil 100D Syllabus W 2020

Handout 1: Descartes’ 2nd Meditation

Handout 2: Smart’s Sensations and Brain Processes

Essay Assignment #1 Phil 100D W 20

Handout 3: Putnam’s Critique of Behaviorism

Handout 4: Armstrong’s Functionalism

Color Phi Information

Color Phi Demonstrations

“Filling in” Information

“Filling in” Demonstration

Contrast Effects in Color Perception

Handout 5: Block’s Critique of Functionalism

Handout 7a: Jackson’s Knowledge Argument

Essay Assignment # 2: Due 2-26-20

Handout 7b: Lewis’ Analysis of Jackson’s Argument 

Handout 6: Davidson’s Anomalous Monism

Multilevel Mechanisms in Cognitive Neuroscience – The use of neural circuitry to explain sound localization in bats and birds

Sound localization in mammals is more complicated

Handout 8: Fodor’s Language of Thought

Handout 9: Dennett’s “True Believers”

Handout 10: Dretske’s Recipe for Thought

Study Sheet for Phil Mind Final W 20

Take Home Final Exam W 20 – Now Optional