PHL471: Philosophy of Mind
Professor: Craig DeLancey
From Aristotle's De Anima, please look at Book II part
1 (this is very short); an online version is this one at
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
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
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.
is a video of Skinner, an important behaviorist, on behaviorism.
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.
I'll bring you an example from a paper by Rorty, "Mind Body
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!
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,
Read: chapter 1 of Noe's book Action in Perception.
Read: chapter 1 of Noe's book Action in Perception.
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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.
- What is experiential blindness? How does it differ from
- What is the basis of perception, according to Noe? (See
page 8, for example)
- 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
Read section 3.6 of Noe. Phil majors should read the whole chapter.
Take the online practice quiz before midnight!
Quick quiz in class on Perception and enactivism. We'll briefly introduce our next topic: consciousness.
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.
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
- 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?
We will review the Modal and Knowledge arguments.
Read the introduction and part 1 of the Chalmers selection:
"The Two-Dimensional Argument". This introduces the
Read: chapter 4 of Noe.
I'll be around and available in my office from 9 a.m. -- 1:00 pm.
Practice quiz available all day on BlackBoard.
David Chalmers gives a TED talk that discusses the question
of consciousness. He reviews some key positions, so it's
interesting and maybe even helpful to review. Does his account
here support his dualism about consciousness?
You might find interesting another overview: here is a talk
by the philosopher Susan Blackmore.
Just a reminder. I do not grade for attendance. If you want to
surf the web, text your friends, or watch movies, do not come to
class. I do not care if you wrongly think you can multitask (no
one can multitask--the science is unequivocal on this; claiming
you can multitask is as rational as claiming you can drive well
when drunk). Such behavior is distracting to others and is
disrespectful to me. If you feel you are paying me to be here,
then let me put it this way: I am selling a classroom where we
discuss philosophy together; I am not selling something to listen
to while you surf the web.
Quiz on consciousness in class.
Discussion of our next topic: emotion.
Some study topics. What is/are...
- The different senses of "consciousness"?
- Physicalism (about consciousness)?
- A phenomenal zombie?
- The inverted spectrum thought experiment (first proposed
- The Knowledge Argument.
- The zombie argument.
- The superfuctionality claim.
Read: 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.
Reading assignment: answer the following questions.
You can do this on BlackBoard or by handing a page in at the
beginning of class.
A resource: you may find it useful to sometimes look at
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.)
- What is an emotion, according to James? Be careful:
a sloppy reading leads people to say, an emotion is a body
state. But what specifically does James say it is?
- What arguments does he offer for his view? (E.g.,
on pages 193-194, and also on the first page.)
Read: For a defense of a version of the cognitivist theory,
read this paper by Nash: Cognitive Theories
of Emotion (Nous, Vol. 23, No. 4. (Sep., 1989),
In class, we should also discuss papers.
For your papers, please see my paper
grading rubric and also see my philosophy
paper format guide. They will tell you how to structure your
paper, and also what we consider most important in philosophy.
I like the APA style for references (though we don't need that
part of APA for different sections -- methods, results, etc.)
There is a guide you can use for references here.
Here are some paper topics that students wrote on in the past:
- Does the Knowledge Argument work? A number of recent
arguments have held that there is something different about
phenomenal information but that this is consistent with
physicalist type identity theory about phenomenal experience.
Evaluate one of these arguments.
- Does the conceivability argument work? Why or why not?
Ask me for some of the recent criticisms so I can point you to
some views you should respond to.
- Does Nash's new cognitive theory solve all the problems
that cognitivism about emotions have? How, for example, could
it handle emoting for fictions? Or other difficult cases?
- Are the emotions we have for fictions the same kinds
that we have for real events?
- Is strong cognitivism a viable theory of emotions like
fear and anger? If so, answer some of the criticisms of DeLancey,
Griffiths, or others.
- Defend or criticize the memory theory of personal identity.
- Which of Nagel's five options for explaining self-identity
of the split-brain patients do you think is correct? Why? Can
you offer some reasons of your own?
- Are Clark and Chalmers right about externalism? Consider
at least one of the published criticisms.
- Can we have a form of compatibilism or libertarianism about
free will consistent with the neural science results we have
I'll be out of town delivering a paper.
While I'm out of town, here is a reading and also a question.
Read Walton, Fearing Fictions.
Citation: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 75, No. 1. (Jan.,
1978), pp. 5-27. Please write up your answer to the following
reading questions (also on BlackBoard). These are more extensive
than usual, and will count more than usual, because you have a
few extra hours to work on them. I suggest that you consider
meeting in class to discuss them.
First, three overview questions about Walton:
Write up your answer, which may take a few pages, and bring it
to class on the 27th to hand in at the beginning of class; else
you can also hand it in using BlackBoard.
- What is Walton's thought experiment?
- Why does apparently fearing a fiction make a problem for the cognitivist theory of emotion?
- What is Walton's solution to this problem?
Second, a group of deeper ontological questions:
- Consider the cognitive theory of emotion. If you
think carefully about the definition of an emotion in
the theory, you'll see that it looks, at least at first
glance, incapable to handling emoting for fiction.
Is that so? Is the fact that we emote for fictions
an insoluble problem for the cognitive theory? Could
James's theory or the Affect Program Theory do better?
And do you think that Walton's theory of emoting for
fiction is a successful solution (that is, a successful
way to save the cognitivist theory of emotion)? Does
the fact that we emote for fictions give us reason to
favor one of these theories of emotion over another?
Review of theories of emotion. Discussion of the problem of
emoting for fictions.
Homework on Walton due at the beginning of class.
Visit from actors of the Acting Company, in class.
Think of some questions you would like to ask them
about emotions and fiction, or emotions and acting.
Practice quiz available online.
Quiz on emotion.
Here are the concepts that we have reviewed:
Here are some review questions:
- Affect Program Theory of emotion (Here are a few chapters of my book,
defending that theory.)
- Basic emotions
- Cognitivist theory of emotion
- Jamesian theory of emotion
- Problem of emoting for fictions
- Emotion for oneself with respect to fictional stimuli
- Emotion in empathy or sympathy with fictional
characters and events
- Social constructivism about emotions
Note: Philosophy Club meets Friday, March 31, 2017, from 4:00
PM - 6:00 PM, in Marano Campus Center Room 258 to watch and
then discuss the film Ex Machina. There will be pizza!
- What is the cognitivist theory of emotion?
- What is the Jamesian theory of emotion?
- What is the affect program theory of emotion?
- Why is emoting for fictions an apparent problem for
the cognitivist theory?
For fun, you can watch:
this video on split brain patients.
Read paragraphs 1-15 of chapter 27 (XXVII) of Locke's
Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Answer the
questions on blackboard. These questions are:
As you know, I usually have my office hours 1:40-3:00. But today
there is a meeting 1:30-2:30 I need to attend. So, I'll have office
hours from 2:30 to 4:30 to make up for that. I hope this is
convenient for you.
- According to Locke, what makes an oak tree the same oak tree throughout it's life?
- What makes a cat the same cat throughout its life?
- What makes a person the same person throughout her life?
- What is a person, according to Locke?
Read paragraphs 16-29 of chapter 27 (XXVII) of Locke's
Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
I hereby forbid each and every one of you
from ever using the phrase "is based on" ever
Please read this,
this by Michael Gazzaniga.
They're short! No reading homework this day.
Read chapter 4 section 6 of David Hume's Treatise. There
is a free online version
here. Answer the questions on BlackBoard. These are:
- What does Hume say the self is?
- Do you agree with Hume's claim? Try your own reflection
upon your experience(s), as Hume does, and
ask yourself if there is something you can identify other
than your particular sense experiences. What do you find?
No class. But this day and over the weekend there will be an
online practice quiz. We won't have an in-class quiz on personal
identity--BUT, I will put questions on the final about personal
Extended Mind by Clark and Chalmers.
Answer the questions on BlackBoard:
The stuff about semantic externalism (where they mention
Putnum, Burge, water, twin Earth, and xyz) is probably
confusing to you. Don't worry about it. Putnum and Burge
have a theory that the meaning of words can be partly outside the
head. This is a different theory than Clark and Chalmers
are proposing (C&C are arguing instead that thinking and
beliefs can extend outside the head); for this reason, C&C
spend some of the paper explaining how their view is
different than the semantic externalism.
- What is "active externalism"?
- What thought experiments do they offer to illustrate this?
There is one for activity (tetris), and one for belief (Otto).
Can you describe what they are meant to show?
- What are the four criteria they offer for extended belief?
- What necessary criteria of externalism do they propose?
Criticisms of Clark and Chalmers on externalism:
Adams and Aizawa, parts 1 and 2. While reading, ask
- What is their task in this paper?
- What are their two "marks of the cognitive"?
- What is non-derived content?
Criticisms of Clark and Chalmers on externalism:
Adams and Aizawa, parts 3, 4, and 5.
While reading, ask yourself:
- What are their primary criticisms of Clark and Chalmers?
What do they claim the Tetris case 2, and Otto's notebook,
- What do they mean by "intercranial" and "transcranial"?
In class we will discuss externalism some more. We may make time to
discuss conscious free will.
With BlackBoard, you can take the online practice quiz on externalism.
I'll have special hours today from 1 to 3:30, to help you with
anything Philosophy of Mind oriented.
In class quiz on externalism There may also be some questions
about personal identity. Here are some things to think about:
Before the quiz, discussion of our next (and last) topic:
conscious free will.
- Active externalism
- The Parity Principle
- Derived content
- The C+C thought experiments (Tetris, Otto, Inga)
Before class read: "Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the
human brain," Chun Siong Soon; Brass,Marcel; Heinze,
Hans-Jochen; Haynes, John-Dylan. Nature Neuroscience,
May2008, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p543-545. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2112
This is available to us through the Academic Search Complete
service on the Penfield web site, but I've not figured out
how to link to it yet. So, go here,
click on the "Academic Search Complete" link, and search
for the title above. Or, here.
Homework: Before class, answer the questions on Blackboard.