Spring 2018

Philosophy of Mind

Spring 2018
Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
PHIL 430 601
Monday 6:00pm-9:00pm


Secondary Program: 
Master of Liberal Arts
Course Description: 

One of the most general issues in philosophy of mind concerns the relationship between mind, body, and world. Since the publication of Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy nearly 400 years ago, many Western philosophers of mind have accepted a real distinction between mind, body, and world, thereby thrusting the “mind/body” or “mind/body/world” problem to the forefront. Recently, some philosophers have questioned the notion that there is a sharp distinction between mind, body, and world and in so doing have suggested new ways to approach the mind/body/world relationship.   In this course, we will evaluate the prospects for developing a solution to the mind/body/world problem in light of the recent attempts to cast aside this Cartesian legacy.   Some of the questions we will consider are as follows: Do we have to believe that a mind is an immaterial substance in order to believe that there is a mind/body/world problem to solve? What is the relationship between minds, bodies, and the world? Does recent work in cognitive science, or other sciences, shed any light on the mind/body/world problem? Is this a real or solvable problem?   No prior familiarity with the specific questions pursued in this course is assumed. We will read primary texts with the goal of gaining an understanding of some recent trends within contemporary philosophy of mind.