\ Craig DeLancey: PHL471 past assignments

PHL471: Philosophy of Mind
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: CC212A
Email: craig.delancey@oswego.edu




Past Assignments
Ontology and the basic ontological positions. (Ontology Boot Camp)

28 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.
30 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 http://www.classicallibrary.org/descartes/meditations/ and http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/mede.html and http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/descartes/meditations/meditations.html.

Homework 1. Bring me to hand in your summary of what 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?

6 February
Reading. Please read parts I and II of Churchland's "Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes" Paul M. Churchland, The Journal of Philosophy Vol. 78, No. 2 (Feb., 1981), pp. 67-90.

The stable JStor link is here.

There are logical formulas in the paper. They may be written in a way you've never seen, but that's OK. You can skip them and still understand these two sections.

Do read the rest of the paper when you have time.

While reading, ask yourself:
  • What is a propositional attitude?
  • What are propositional attitudes supposed to explain?
  • What is folk psychology, according to Churchland?
  • What are some of the problems with folk psychology, according to Churchland?
  • What does the failure of folk psychology tell us about the things posited in that theory?
I might give you a brief opportunity at the beginning of class to write answers to these questions.

9 February
Answer the question on Angel before class. You can access your Angel account here.
11 February
Read sections 1.1 through 1.4 (pages 1-17) of Action in Perception. You might want to read all of the chapter, especially if you are a philosophy major, but that's not required.

Answer the questions on Angel about the reading.
16 February
Read sections 2.0 to 2.5 of Action in Perception (philosophy majors are encouraged to read the whole chapter). Answer the questions on Angel about the reading.
18 February
Read section 3.6 of Noe. Phil majors should read the whole chapter.
19 February
Joe asked for another example of the representational theory. One example is Marr and Nishihara's 1978 paper "Representation and Recognition of Spatial Organization of Three-Dimensional Shapes".

Here also are the last slides from class.
20 February
Homework due. In a few typed pages, do the following.

Find your own example of a sense illusion, or otherwise of an unusual feature of some sense perception. (Stick to illusions that work for statistically normal people; that is, let's not consider phenomena that are results of brain damage, or very unusual phenomena like synthesia.) Describe how the view of senses as passions could possibly explain the phenomenon. Describe how the view of senses given in enactivism could possibly explain the phenomenon. In your judgement, does either theory do a better job? Why?

I used the following grading rubric:
A: 4 -- illusion (this is a freebie)
B: 4 -- writing, grammar
C: 4 -- explanation of the passive view
D: 4 -- explanation of enactivism
E: 4 -- defense of one view

If you can, and if this is relevant, include a picture or link or other kind of documentation that would allow the reader of your brief paper to find and experience the illusion or phenomenon in question.

Due at the beginning of class.

Look at this paper for an example of what I consider to be an excellent homework.

In class, we will also start our discussion of consciousness, in part because we'll discuss this homework on Monday the 23rd, so we'll be using that time to discuss perception and want to get the time back for consciousness.

23 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 2 sections where he describes his two thought experiments (that is, focus on the introduction and part I). Answer the study questions on Angel.

If you are logging into Jstor from off campus, you'll need to first log into Jstor through our library pages, here. Then you'll need to search for the article by name.

27 February
Read the Chalmers selection: "The Two-Dimensional Argument".
You are only required to read part 1 of the paper.

2 March
Read the selection on the Superfunctionality claim, and the selections on the explanatory gap. These will be handed out in class.

I have made the Angel questions for the last set available for another day, but I won't keep doing that!

4 March
Read sections 4.0-4.4 of chapter 4 of Noe. Answer the question on Angel. (I posted the Angel question a little late, so it will remain up till the end of day Friday.)

Michael brought to my attention the following interesting case, which is similar to the first thought experiment that Jackson proposes: the case of tetrachromatics, people who can see additional colors, or at least differentiate additional shades. (I'll never complain about Pinterest viewing again.) A very interesting article.

In class, we will consider some objections to the four canonical anti-physicalist arguments.

This day only, I cannot have my office hours from 2-3. Please email me if you need to talk with me and we'll find time.

By the way, here are our argument summary overheads.

6 March
Homework due (although, because I had to cancel my office hours on Wednesday, I will accept these as late as Monday March 9 without penalty). In a few typed pages, do the following.

Consider one of the four paradigmatic arguments that consciousness is not a physical phenomenon. Describe and the argument and reconstruct it as a clear set of premises and conclusion. (You can cite a reconstructed argument we used in class; that is, you are not required to be original in your reconstruction of the argument. Rather, you are using an argument to clarify your objection or support.) If you have your own objection to the argument, share that. In your evaluation, lay out the argument as premises and a conclusion, and then tell us which premise you are criticizing. Else, if you agree with the argument, consider and overcome another objection. In such a case, in your evaluation, tell us which premise is attacked by the objection you consider and overcome.

If you are looking for a critical challenge to any of the arguments, consider Noe's criticism, or one of the ones that we discuss on the 4th. You can also look at the following summaries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for sources: Look at this paper for an example of what I consider to be an excellent homework. for the last problem.

For grading, I used the following rubric:
A: grammar and clarity of writing (5 points)
B: summary of the argument you were evaluating (5 points)
C: philosophical clarity and accuracy of the argument for/against the argument (10 points)
9 March
Let's start our discussion of emotion with a classic paper by Williams James. Read at least the first 12 pages -- it's a quick read. Bring the paper to class so we can look at it together. It's on JSTOR, "What is an Emotion?" (Mind, Vol. 9, No. 34 -- April 1884 -- pages 188-205). If you can, read it all; but we're only going to discuss the first 12 pages. It's really very straightfoward, I'm pleased to say. Answer the questions on Angel about the reading.

A resource: you may find it useful to sometimes look at the emotion entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Ronnie de Sousa. (Note that de Sousa uses the term "feeling theories" differently than I will in class -- I will use it for a mythical view attacked by some philosophers that emotions are "just feelings"; de Sousa uses it for the James view. The two are not the same because there is content involved in James theory -- the feelings are caused by a specific kind of perception and are appropriate to it.
13 March
Read Nash's Cognitive Theories of Emotion (Nous, Vol. 23, No. 4. (Sep., 1989), pp. 481-504). Answer the questions on Angel, which will be available till class on Friday. (Another famous cognitivist paper, which we don't have time for but which you could read if you are interested, is Donald Davidson's Hume's Cognitive Theory of Pride. Citation: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 73, No. 19, Seventy-Third Annual Meeting Eastern Division, American Philosophical Association. (Nov. 4, 1976), pp. 744-757.)

We'll also discuss the affect program theory.
23 March
Read Walton, Fearing Fictions. Citation: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 75, No. 1. (Jan., 1978), pp. 5-27. Answer the questions on Angel. (Remember, the questions on Angel are meant to guide you in your reading; therefore, they become unavailable after the class in which the reading is due.)

For a defense of the affect program theory, you can read the preprint of my book, available here. Not required reading.
25 March
Midterm exam in class. Covers:
  • ontology basics (interactive substance dualism, epiphenomenalism, reductionism, physicalism, eliminativism)
  • perception (enactivist vs snapshot/passive theories)
  • consciousness (four canonical anti-physicalist arguments
  • theories of emotion (cognitive, jamesian, affect program theory)
Slides used in class are availabe in the relevant time in the past assignments site.

For your interest: Sam found us this Ted Talk. It's relevant because if the enactivists are right, it should be possible to create new senses (by creating new ways to get information about the world with a consistent relation to motor control and motor expectations). So this is perhaps consistent with enactivism.