Knowledge, Mind and Language (PHIL*2250)
Term: Fall 2013
We all have minds, use language, and at one time or another claim to have knowledge, that, for instance, Guelph is in southern Ontario. But how clear are we, really, about these things (mind, language, knowledge) whatever kinds of "thing" they may be They are not things in the way a carrot is a thing, but what about an iPhone, a seemingly different kind of "thing"? And what about their relations? I express my claims to know things linguistically. Does that mean an animal without language has no knowledge, since it has no language? Yet is that fair: what is language? Do Dolphins have it? Prairie Dogs? (you may laugh: wait until you see what they are up to). And what is a mind? How does it differ from, say, a computer or a rock. Could there be a mind that does not process information, and if not, is processing information what makes a mind? In that case your favourite robot (mine is Mr. Data) has a mind. Theories of information processing involve language (computer "language") so again, is language necessary for having a mind? Also: is there some part of our mind--our consciousness, say--that goes beyond information process? In this course we shall explore these and related questions about the nature and relatedness of minds, language, and knowledge.
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