Philosophy | Intro to Philosophy of Mind
P360 | 25672 | Weinberg


Minds, it seems, are very strange things.  They seem to be
_somehow_ related to the physical world, but nonetheless are not
easily explained in purely physical terms.  They have the unusual
property of being _about_ other things, or having other things as
their meanings, even when those things don't exist.  (Think of a
pink elephant.  On the one hand, this is easily done ... and yet, on
the other hand, how is it something you could do at all, given that
there are no such things as pink elephants?  If I were to ask you to
stand next to a pink elephant, the instruction would be impossible
to comply with.  And yet somehow our minds can reach out into the
void....)  And minds have subjectivity and consciousness -- there is
something that it is like to be a mind, a point of view on the
world, which is something that perhaps no other objects in the world
have.

This course will cover many of the main theories and arguments about
trying to solve these many challenging facets of the mind-body
problem.  We will do so almost entirely by reading the primary
literature of philosophy articles that have been written by
philosophers and for philosophers, by such authors as Descartes,
Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett, Alan Turing, Ned Block,
and David Chalmers.  Also, students will be required to produce a
large number of short writing assignments that engage with the
arguments of these articles.  So this course is best suited for
students who are already fairly comfortable reading, thinking, and
discussing substantive philosophy texts.