Philosophy of Mind
This course will be an introduction to the philosophy of mind. Mental philosophy, as it used to be called, is the area of philsophy in which one studies mental phenomena. The historically central question of mental philosophy concerned the relation between the mind and the body. However, it is now an area of inquiry where techniques and insights from other disciplines, such as linguistics, computer science, neuroscience, and psychology are brought to bear on issues relating to the nature of consciousness, perception, intentionality, psychological explanation, and the metaphysical relation between mental states and physical states. The central topics we will be considering are the following. What is the relation between the mind and the body? Are we machines? Are we computers? What is consciousness? How do we individuate thoughts and mental states? What kind of relations to a social environment are necessary in order for a subject to have a thought? What does it mean for a concept to be innate? How much of our mental architecture is innate? Are we rational? How do we interpret and read other minds? What is an emotion? What is the specific analysis of certain emotions, such as love, jealousy, compassion, anger, and grief? What does it mean to be rational? Are we rational? What is intuition? What is belief? What is desire? How does morality relate to human psychology? These questions along with many others will be approached by looking at historical figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, Antoine Arnauld, John Locke, B. Spinoza, G.W. Leibniz, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and William James. And by contemporary philosophers, such as Rudolph Carnap, Alan Turning, Alonzo Church, Gilbert Ryle, Jack Smart, C.D. Broad, David Armstrong, Donald Davidson, David Lewis, Jagewon Kim, Jerry Fodor, John Searle, Tyler Burge, Hilary Putnam, Saul Kripke, David Chalmers, and Frank Jackson. The orientation of this class will be broad. When necessary we will be reading empirical literature from neuroscience, cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics.