Philosophy 236: Philosophy of Mind
Where: Philosophy department lounge
When: Wednesdays 1-3:50, spring quarter 2016
Instructor: Jonathan Cohen
First three letters of my first name and then my last name (all as
one word) followed by the at sign, followed by 'aardvark.ucsd.edu'
office: (858) 534 6812
Office hours: Tuesdays 10-11:30, in H&SS 8072 (and by appointment)
We'll organize discussion around the paired chapters in McLaughlin's and
Cohen's anthology, Contemporary
Debates in Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, 2007 (ordered from the
bookstore, but probably available elsewhere for less).
Because the debates in this volume take up fundamental issues at the
heart of philosophy of mind and also have connections to a very wide
range of adjoining literatures in the area, this course will expose
students to a pretty good chunk of the subfield.
This seminar counts toward the distribution requirement in the area of
philosophy of mind; it also counts as a core seminar.
This seminar will be a graduate-level survey of fundamental topics in
the philosophy of mind.
We'll focus on three principle clusters of issues that have stood at
the center of recent philosophical dispute: those about mental
content, the ontology of the mental, and the place of consciousness in
The seminar requirements are of two main kinds: presentations,
and a medium length (15 page) final paper.
All attendees (including auditors) will be required to lead a seminar
A presentation should be a critical discussion rather than a mere summary
or book report (the presenter can assume that other participants have
done the reading, and the other participants will make it the case
that such an assumption is correct!), and should contain a thesis and
arguments for that thesis.
It can concern any topic connected with the week's reading that is of
interest to the presenter.
You must discuss your presentation with me sometime before the session
in which you present, just to make sure we're on the same page.
Seminar presentations may be given using notes or slides, but they
may not be read aloud from a pre-written paper.
- Final Paper:
Students taking the course for credit will pass in a single 15 page
paper by the end of the quarter (extensions will be granted only in
cases of extreme emergency), on a topic of their own choosing that
relates to the subject matter of the course.
All such papers must be pre-approved in conversation with me.
I mean it.
I will determine your grade based on the following breakdown:
25% seminar presentations and participation
75% final paper
Readings listed below are from the McLaughlin and Cohen anthology, and
may be supplemented with additional materials on an ad hoc basis.
||introductory meeting, sign up for presentations
||Content, wide and narrow
||Externalism and privileged access
||Normativity and intentionality
||A posteriori physicalism
||Phenomenal character and intentional content