PHL471: Philosophy of Mind
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Past Assignments0. Ontology and the basic ontological positions29 January1. RepresentationFrom Aristotle's De Anima, please look at Book II part 1 (this is very short); an online version is this one at MIT.31 JanuaryReading 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?
3 FebruaryReading. 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:
I might give you a brief opportunity at the beginning of class to write answers to these questions.
- 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?
5 FebruaryFinishing our discussion of Churchland. Discussion of functionalism and behaviorism.
I will have office hours today 1:45-3:00
7 FebruarySummary of ontological positions.
I won't have office hours today 1:45-3:00
10 February2. ConsciousnessThe basic problem of representation. Read our Fodor selection on the handout. While reading the Fodor selection, ask yourself:
- What is the problem that Fodor is presenting?
- Why is this problem special to representation?
- How might we solve or explain away this problem?
12 FebruaryRead the handout of selected passages from the precis of Knowledge and the Flow of Information by Fred Dretske, and also the passage on the back of the Fodor handout. For us, an important question is, how does Dretske try to solve the normative problem (the disjunction problem)?
14 FebruaryBefore class, read Ruth Millikan's "Biosemantics" (Journal of Philosophy Vol. 86, No. 6 (Jun., 1989), pp. 281-297). (Off campus, you'll have to go to the JSTOR login page and then use the reference information to search.) You can skip section 5, and skim section 1 if it seems unclear. While reading, ask yourself the following possible quiz questions:
Bring your copy to class, if you have a hard copy or other transportable copy.
- What is the difference between consumption and production of a representation?
- What does the magnetosome example show?
17 FebruaryWe'll start with a brief quiz on the ontological positions: interactive substance dualism, type identity theory, behaviorism, functionalism, eliminativism. Then we'll discuss Millikan.
19 FebruaryWe'll ensure that Millikan is clear, and review her version of functionalism. Then we'll turn to Dennett.
Before class, a reading.
Read part I of "Intentional Systems" by Daniel Dennett, on JSTOR. Reference: Journal of Philosophy, February 1971. Part I is short: it's just pages 87-93 of the journal. While reading, ask yourself:
(Off campus, you'll have to go to the JSTOR login page and then use the reference information to search.)
- What is the intentional stance?
- What is the physical stance?
- What is the design stance?
- What is a belief, according to Dennett?
- What is a desire, according to Dennett?
- How does Dennett's stance "solve" the problem of normativity of representation?
21 FebruaryHomework due at the beginning of class.
Homework 2 due at the beginning of class: using Dennett's three ways of looking at something (the intentional stance, the design stance, and the physical stance), describe a thermostat. That is, what is an intentional stance description of the "behavior" of the thermostat? What is a design stance interpretation of the "behavior" of the thermostat? What is the physical stance interpretation of the "behavior" of the thermostat?
24 FebruaryContinuing with Dennett. Then, we'll turn to Searle's thought experiment on the Chinese room. Read at least up to where he says, "Now to the replies" in "Minds, Brains, and Programs" by John Searle.
26 FebruaryReview of representation, and last observations about the Chinese Room thought experiment. Time permitting, we will introduce the problem of phenomenal experience.
28 FebruaryReading: 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. While reading, ask yourself the following likely quiz questions:
- 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?
3 MarchHomework and a reading.
Read and study the handout on Kripke's argument.
Homework: a brief report due at the beginning of class. Consider the representational state of belief. For example, consider the claim: "Kathleen believes that fire is dangerous." Assume this is something she really believes at the moment, actively and with awareness (I mean, let's not worry about the idea that some beliefs can be implicit but not actively felt). Accurately, but in your own words, explain how the following scholars will explain the normative nature of this mental state (by normative, remember that we mean that it can be right or wrong):
One of those is a trick question, obviously. In each case, cite (quote) the text to defend your account. This should only take a few pages.