101: Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual
E-mail: [email protected]
Office hours: Thursday 1:30-3pm (Social Sciences 226A)
Class meeting (fall 1999): Monday/Wednesday 2-2:50pm, Modern Languages 350
This class is devoted to philosophical issues concerning the self and
the mind. Some of the issues we will examine include:
What is the self?
What is the mind?
What is the relationship between mind and body?
Can consciousness be scientifically explained?
How can we know about external reality?
Do we have free will?
Are animals conscious?
Could computers have minds?
Further readings will be made available on this web page.
The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul, edited
by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett.
Doing Philosophy: An Introduction through Thought-Experiments,
by Theodore Schick Jr and Lewis Vaughn.
There will be three short papers of 4-5 pages each, a midterm and a
final exam, and occasional quizzes. Late papers will be penalized
at a rate of one letter grade per day (except with medical documentation).
No incompletes will be given, except for very good medical reasons.
If you have special needs, let me know soon. Attendance at discussion section
is required; if you miss more than two meetings, your grade will suffer.
Second paper! (due Wednesday December 1)
First paper! (due Monday October 4)
Tips on doing philosophy
Here are some very useful resources on how to write philosophy papers.
Read these carefully!
Here is a very approximate week-by-week plan for the course, with associated
readings. Note that this is very likely to be revised as things develop,
and further readings will be added.
TOPIC 1. INTRODUCTION (1 week)
TOPIC 2: KNOWLEDGE AND SKEPTICISM (1 week)
DP, Chapter 1
DP, pp. 215-217.
TOPIC 3: DUALISM (2 weeks)
DP, Section 2.1
Descartes, Meditations I & II (DP)
DP, Section 7.1
TOPIC 4: BEHAVIORISM (1 week)
TOPIC 5: MATERIALISM (2 weeks)
TOPIC 6: CONSCIOUSNESS (1-2 weeks)
DP, Section 2.2
Miedaner, The Soul of Martha, a beast (TMI)
Miedaner, The Soul of the Mark III beast (TMI)
- Behaviorism (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
TOPIC 7: FREE WILL (2 weeks)
DP, Sections 2.4, 2.5
Nagel, What is it like to be a bat? (TMI; also on the
- Frank Jackson, Epiphenomenal
- Chalmers, The puzzle of conscious experience (DP; also on the web)
TOPIC 8: PERSONAL IDENTITY (2 weeks)
DP, Chapter 3 (including readings)
Smullyan, Is God a Taoist? (TMI)
TOPIC 9: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2-3 weeks)
DP, Chapter 4 (including readings)
Dennett, Where am I? (TMI)
DP, Section 2.3
Turing, Computing machinery and intelligence (TMI) (also on the web)
Searle, Minds, brains, and programs (TMI) (also on the web)
Bisson, They're made of meat
Some useful resources on the web include: