Mar 21, 2019  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PHI 217 - Philosophy of Mind


This course is an introduction to the philosophy of mind.  It asks ten philosophical questions:

  1. How do I know about minds other than my own?
  2. What is the nature of psychological explanation?
  3. What is a mental state, such as pain or belief?
  4. Will psychology be replaced by neuroscience?
  5. How can the mind cause behavior?
  6. How can the mind represent the world?
  7. Could a machine think?
  8. What is consciousness?
  9. Do we have free will?
  10. Is life after death possible?

As we will see, these questions are connected: an answer to any one of them will inform answers to others.  While these are philosophical questions, one of the guiding principles of this course is that science can shed light on each of them, and that progress requires the cooperation of science and philosophy.  The scientific paradigm we’ll adopt is what’s sometimes called classical cognitive science.  This is the idea, roughly, that the mind is a computer, a physical device for manipulating symbols according to rules.  Classical cognitive science has something to say, directly or indirectly, about each of our ten questions, and we will spend much of the course trying to understand and evaluate these answers.

Counts as an elective for the Philosophy major and minor.
Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives distribution requirement.
Counts as an elective in the Neuroscience interdisciplinary minor.

Prerequisites & Notes

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