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   Course Title    Philosophy of Mind
Lecturer    Lilia Gurova
Institution    New Bulgarian University
Country    Bulgaria


  1. AIMS OF THE COURSE:

    • to introduce the basic themes and concepts in the philosophy of mind;
    • to outline the most interesting questions concerning mind and their relevance to central issues in cognitive science.

    On completion of the course students should demonstrate some working knowledge of basic concepts and ideas in the philosophy of mind and be able to discuss the good and the bad points of various solutions of the main problems of this field.

  2. ROLE OF THE COURSE IN THE OVERALL DEGREE CURRICULUM

    This is an elective course, which bears 2 credits to the students of the Graduate Program of Cognitive Science. The graduate students in cognitive science should take at least one philosophical course and they could choose among "Philosophy of Mind", "Epistemology", and "Philosophy of language".

  3. METHODS USED:

    • lectures focusing on key ideas and problems;
    • guided reading;
    • tutor-led group discussions.

  4. COURSE CONTENT:

    Lecture 1 Introduction: what is the place of philosophy among the others sciences of the mind; the subject- matter of philosophy of mind; the problem-oriented approach to the study of philosophy of mind; a brief account of the main themes of this course and the interrelations among them.

    Lecture 2 The mind-body problem I: historical introduction; general presentation of the main solutions: dualism and monism; versions of philosophical dualism (animism, psychophysical parallelism, interactionism); arguments pro and contra philosophical dualism (Descartes' arguments pro dualism, arguments based on tradition, religion, and common sense; arguments against dualism: dualism violates the law of the conservation of energy, dualism is incoherent with the theory of evolution, the Occam's razor argument, logical arguments); ontological, epistemological, and methodological dualism.

    Lecture 3 The mind-body problem II: versions of philosophical monism (neutral monism, eliminative materialism, physicalism, identity theories); discussions about epiphenomenalism, supervenience, and mind as an emergent (irreducible) property of the brain; are causal theories of mind entirely monistic?

    Lecture 4 The problem of the free will: the free will in the context of the controversion determinism/indeterminism; does determinism necessarily entail fatalism; determinism and predictability; are unpredictable events occasional (the case of the theory of chaos); arguments pro and contra human free will (discussion on Freud, existentialism, and neobehaviorism)

    Lecture 5 Mental causation: do mental states possess causal power; causes and reasons, reasons as causes (discussion on Davidson); causes and conditions.

    Lecture 6 The problem of intentionality I: historical introduction and definitions; theory of intentionality as an argument in favor of dualism; Brentano's account of intentional inexistence; Chisholm's linguistic criterion of intentionality; objections to Chisholm's criterion; representing intentional states as propositional attitudes; attempts to deny the reality of intentionality: Quine versus Brentano.

    Lecture 7 The problem of intentionality II: strategies for explanation; the computational theory of mind (J. Fodor); Putnam, Dennett and Churchland against Fodor's theory; Dretchke's information theory approach; Searle's theory of intentionality: intentionality as a biological phenomenon; Dennett's intentional stance approach; a plea for a cognitive ethology: is Dennett's theory compatible with Neisser's and Gibson's ecological approach to cognition?

    Lecture 8 Qualia: historical introduction: from Lock's secondary qualities to Dennett's "qualia disqualified"; discussion on five famous thought experiments: inverted qualia, black-and-white-Marry's room, the philosophical zombies, the China-body system, the Inverted Earth; what do these thought experiments prove or disprove?

    Lecture 9 The representationism - anti-representationism debate: a historical introduction: Lock's classical representationist theory of mind; Brentano's criticism on the representational theories; the knowledge representation hypothesis of contemporary cognitive science and its critics; beyond representationism: the situated cognition approach, the continental philosophy criticism on representationism (Heidegger).

    Lecture 10 Mind and consciousness I: mind as consciousness (Descartes); the problem of self: does it really exist; the argument of Hume against the existence of self; different notions of self.

    Lecture 11 Mind and consciousness II: aspects of consciousness, the social construction of selves; theories of personality.

    Lecture 12 Theories of unconscious mind: arguments supporting the idea that unconscious mental processes do exist; arguments against the notion of unconscious mind; the theories of unconscious mind before and after Freud; the philosophical implications of psychoanalysis.

    Lecture 13 Mind and language, language and thought I: the intersection between philosophy of mind and philosophy of language; mind and meaning: theories of meaning; Wittgenstein theory; speech act theory (Austin, Searle, and Grice); holistic analysis of meaning (Quine and Davidson).

    Lecture 14 Mind and language, language and thought II: Buhler - Popper theory of language and its functions (expressive, signaling, descriptive, and argumentative); language as a product of evolution; the evolutionary solution of the problem of meaning.

    Lecture 15 Mind and intersubjectivity: the problem of other minds: how do we know about them and their contents; methodological solipsism: arguments pro and contra; different notions of intersubjectivity: Husserl and Popper.

  5. READINGS

    MANDATORY

    Beakley, B., Ludlow, P. (Eds.) (1992). The Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (Part II - Introduction, chapters 20, 21)
    Bechtel, W. (1988). Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science. N. J. (Chapters 1-6)
    Dennett, D. C. (1991). Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. (Chapters 7,8,12,13)
    Hospers, J. (1997). An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis. (Chapters 1,5,6)
    Kim, J. (1998). Philosophy of Mind. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. (Chapters 6,7)
    Malcolm, N. (1958). Knowledge of Other Minds. In: Rosenthal, D. (Ed.). (1991). The Nature of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Searle, J. (1992). The Rediscovery of the Mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (Chapters 6-8)
    Popper, K. (1972).Objective Knowledge.Oxford: Clarendon. (Chapter 5)

    RECOMMENDED

    Bunge, M. (1980).The Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
    Hofstadter, D. & Dennett, D. (Eds.) (1981).The Mind's I. N. Y.: Basic Books.
    Jacob, P. (1997). What Minds Can Do: Intentionality in a Non-intentional world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Popper, K., Eccles, J. (1977).The Self and Its Brain. Berlin: Springer International.
    Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1987). Computation and Cognition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


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