Philosophy 200
Proseminar: Philosophy of Mind

Autumn 2007

UCSD philosophy courses
Where: Philosophy seminar room (H&SS 7077)
When: Tuesdays 1-3:50

Instructor: Jonathan Cohen ( (omit text in caps, which reduces automated spam))

office: (858) 534 6812

Office hours: Tuesdays 10:30-12 in H&SS 7066 (and by appointment; please feel free to call)

This graduate proseminar in philosophy of mind is meant to serve two principal functions. First, it will serve as an introduction to graduate school in philosophy -- i.e., it is designed to help first year students develop the argumentative, reading, writing, and discussion skills necessary to have a successful graduate career. Second, it will serve as an introduction to several topics in contemporary philosophy of mind.
Enrollment (and, for that matter, attendance) is limited to first year graduate students. Sorry, no auditors. This course will count for purposes of fulfilling the departmental requirements as a core seminar in philosophy of mind.


There is one required text for the course: McLaughlin and Cohen (ed.) Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, 2007. This book should be available from the UCSD bookstore, Amazon, and other venues.


Every week will be devoted to a dispute in philosophy of mind. There will be two discussion leaders each week (we'll make assignments on the first day) who will be charged with getting the discussion going by setting out the main lines of argument under discussion. Each of the week's discussion leaders will be responsible for presenting the arguments of one of the two chapters assigned for the week. Non-presenters will have read the material and prepared short critical responses, so will be well positioned to participate in the ensuing critical discussion.


The proseminar requirements are of three main kinds: presentations, weekly written responses (written in weeks when you are not presenting), and participation in discussions. There will be no final or midterm for the proseminar.

Presentation: All students will be required to lead discussion several times (probably around four times each). The goal of each presentation should be to lay out the main thesis defended in the chapter and the arguments offered in support of that thesis as clearly as possible. A secondary goal -- still a goal, but definitely secondary -- of the presentation should be to develop some critical response to the argument. I expect each presentation to come take around 30-40 minutes, although of course this will be highly variable. You must discuss your presentation with me sometime before the session in which you present to make sure you're on the right track. Presentations may be given from notes (1 page maximum) or powerpoint slides; they may not be read aloud from a pre-written paper.

Weekly Responses: In weeks in which you are not a presenter you will be required to pass in a short (maximum 5 page) discussion of the main argument of one of the week's two chapters. Again, the emphasis here should be on clear and accurate presentation first and criticism second; it's not that criticism is unwelcome, but that it is a secondary goal. You'll be passing in several of these responses, and the goal here is to improve over the quarter the clarity of your presentation of arguments.

Discussion Participation: Obviously, a class like this one will simply fail to function if people stand back from the discussion. So please come to seminar with the expectation of participating fully!


I will determine your grade based on the following breakdown:
40% seminar presentations
40% weekly responses
20% participation

Tentative Schedule

2 OctoberOrganizational Meetingno readingJonathan
9 OctoberPsychological Content: Wide or Narrow?Segal, SawyerJoyce and Sarah
16 OctoberContent Externalism and Privileged AccessBrueckner, McKinseyCole and Vidit
24 OctoberIntentionality and NormativityRey, WedgwoodJoyce and Sarah
13 NovemberNon-Conceptual ContentFodor, HeckCole and Vidit
20 NovemberNon-reductive MaterialismAntony, ChurchlandJoyce and Sarah
27 NovemberMental CausationKim, LoewerCole and Vidit
4 DecemberPhenomenal Character and Intentional ContentShoemaker, TyeCole and Vidit
11 December Mental AwarenessPeacocke, PrinzJoyce and Sarah