PHL471: Philosophy of Mind
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: CC212A

Past Assignments
25 January
From Aristotle's De Anima, please look at Book II part 1 (this is very short); an online version is this one at MIT.
27 January
Reading and an assignment.

Review Descartes's Meditations 6. If you somehow lost your personal copy of Meditations, translations on the web can be found at and and

Reading Practice 1. Answer the question on Blackboard, or if you prefer you can bring me a paper copy (but online is perhaps best). This is: What do you you think Descartes's arguments are for believing that the mind is not a material thing? He has several arguments to this effect in Meditation 6, and they largely occur in the last third of that Meditation; try to summarize or describe at least one of them. You can do this in one page or a tiny bit more -- typed please. Please write in complete sentences; think of this as a very short paper.

In class, we want to ask: what changed between Aristotle and Descartes?

30 January
1. Read this brief selection from Lucretius.

2. Watch. We want to discuss the odds and ends of ontological views. This includes behaviorism, of two flavors. Here is a review (a little simplistic) via TED talk of classical conditioning. Here is a video of Skinner, an important behaviorist, on behaviorism. It's groovy. Here is another of interest.

If you want another source for studying, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has some relevant entries, such as this one:

Here is a short Ontology Toolkit for your use. You can download it and print it out; it's just 2 pages.

1 February
I'll bring you an example from a paper by Rorty, "Mind Body Identity...."

3 February
Finishing our discussion of ontology.

There is a short online quiz for you due before midnight on BlackBoard, as practice for Monday. This is our first of our biweekly practice quizes, meant to give you some idea of your understanding of the material, before our primary quiz. Remember to check the syllabus to see how these are weighted.

Philosophy Club will meet in MCC 211. Free pizza!

Alas, I cannot have office hours this day. Sorry!

6 February
Hey, the practice quiz had some questions about neutral monism, which I did not have time to discuss in class. I'll just count the quiz as out of 8, as opposed to 10, points.

Quiz 0 in class: ontology concepts. You should be prepared to be able to apply any of the concepts in our concept list, but especialy the main ontological distinctions (dualism, reductive physicalism, functionalism, behaviorism). I'll give you some passages of philosophers describing some feature of mind, for example, and ask you to determine whether it is best interpreted as dualist, reductivist, behaviorist, etc. And I'll ask you to explain why.

For 15 minutes before we start, we will discuss our next topic, perception.
8 February
Read: chapter 1 of Noe's book Action in Perception.

10 February
Read: chapter 1 of Noe's book Action in Perception.

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15 February
Read sections 2.0 through 2.5 of Action in Perception (philosophy majors are encouraged to read the whole chapter).
Homework:Answer the following questions.
  1. What is experiential blindness? How does it differ from regular blindness?
  2. What is the basis of perception, according to Noe? (See page 8, for example)
  3. If you wear glasses with prisms in them, so that everything you see is inverted, what happens to your vision at first? What happens after you wear the glasses for a long while?

20 February
Read section 3.6 of Noe. Phil majors should read the whole chapter.

Take the online practice quiz before midnight!
22 February
Quick quiz in class on Perception and enactivism. We'll briefly introduce our next topic: consciousness.
24 February
Read paragraph 15 of chapter 32 of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. You can find it here.

We will also begin discussion of The Modal Argument.
27 February
Reading: Jackson's Epiphenomenal Qualia. Citation: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 127. (Apr., 1982), pp. 127-136. The important part is the first sections where he describes his two thought experiments. Answer the following questions, either on Blackboard or on a page you bring to class:
  • What does Jackson aim to show?
  • What is the Mary thought experiment?
  • What does Jackson claim the Mary thought experiment shows?
  • What is "epiphenomenalism"? Why does his argument, he claims, lead to such a view? Does it?