Philosophy | Philosophy of Mind
P561 | 25676 | Weinberg
Our main goals for the course are (i) to give a survey of some key
areas in the philosophical literature that would be relevant to
anyone looking to build an area of concentration or specialization
in the philosophy of mind, and (ii) to wrestle a bit with the
question of naturalism -- many philosophers and scientists seem to
agree that _something_ that flies under that name should be a
constraint on our theorizing about the mind, but what does it amount
to? This course will be a somewhat more "philosophical" complement
to what typically gets taught in COGS Q540 or PHIL P570, though at
times it will of necessity turn to questions of a psychological or
Note that P561 is an official cross-listed course for purposes of
cog-sci credit, and automatically counts for M&E credit for
philosophy degree requirements.
The course will cover at least the following topics, but I am open
to doing a bit of customizing to student interests & background:
--What is required of a "naturalistically acceptable" theory of
mind? Do we need anything as strong as a _translation_ from mental-
language to physical-language? Is some sort of supervenience
relation enough, or are those to weak to give us "real" naturalism?
What about theories that naturalize mental states by more or less
doing away with them entirely? How naturalistically committed are
our ordinary folk-psychological practices, anyway?
--Can meaning be "naturalized"? That is, can intentionality be
understood in terms which do not themselves explicitly invoke
intentionality? Do "internalistic" or "externalistic" theories
better comport with the demands of naturalism?
--Are the demands of naturalism perhaps better understood as
methodological or epistemological in nature, rather than
metaphysical? Does naturalism require less in terms of what sorts
of things one appeals to in one's theories, and more how one goes
about arguing for those theories?
In addition to participation in class and in online discussion
forums, students will have weekly very brief (~2pp.) writing
assignments, and their choice of a series of short papers throughout
the term or one term paper.
Some key authors here will likely be Ned Block, Tyler Burge, David
Chalmers, the Churchlands, Donald Davidson, Fred Dretske, Frank
Jackson, Jerry Fodor, Terry Horgan, Jaegwon Kim, Brian McLaughlin,
David Lewis, Ruth Millikan, Robert Matthews, Hilary Putnam, Wilifrid
Sellars, Steve Stich, Michael Tye, and Bas van Fraassen.
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions
about the class.