Image credit: Eran Gilat

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 ''
office: (858) 534 6812

Office hours: Tuesdays 10-11:30, in H&SS 8072 (and by appointment)

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 nature.

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.


The seminar requirements are of two main kinds: presentations, and a medium length (15 page) final paper.


I will determine your grade based on the following breakdown:
25% seminar presentations and participation
75% final paper

Tentative Schedule

Readings listed below are from the McLaughlin and Cohen anthology, and may be supplemented with additional materials on an ad hoc basis.
30 March introductory meeting, sign up for presentations Jonathan
6 April Content, wide and narrow Segal, Sawyer
13 April Externalism and privileged access Brueckner, McKinsey
20 April Normativity and intentionality Rey, Wedgwood
27 April Non-conceptual content Fodor, Heck
4 May Non-reductive materialism Antony, Churchland
11 May A posteriori physicalism Jackson, McLaughlin
18 May Mental causation Kim, Loewer
25 May Emergent consciousness Nida-Rumelin, Braddon-Mitchell
1 June Phenomenal character and intentional content Tye, Shoemaker