Philosophy | Intro to Philosophy of Mind
P360 | 3288 | Weinberg
The first segment of this course will engage with a long-standing
debates and investigations into the metaphysics of the mind: What
sort of thing is the mind? Is it a radically different sort of
substance than the stuff that desks, tables, our bodies, etc. are
made of? Alternatively, can mental states be identified as simply
some sort of underlying physical, biological state? Is it something
that is wholly manifested in our behavior? If not, how is it that we
ever know what mental state someone else is in? The second segment
of the course will look at the question of artificial intelligence:
can computers have real minds? Can robots be persons? Could such
constructed beings really have consciousnesses like ours? Finally,
we will examine a recent, promising, but contentious trend in our
scientific understanding of the human mind: evolutionary psychology.
If we consider the human mind as a system that evolved under a
specific set of evolutionary pressures -- as indeed we understand the
rest of our biology -- what novel claims might we make about the
mind? Can we understand human rationality and irrationality, when we
think of the mind as having an evolutionary history?
Class requirements will include weekly ultrashort (less than 1 page)
assignments; a midterm paper; and a take-home final examination.