Philosophy of Mind (PHIL*3180) | College of Arts

Philosophy of Mind (PHIL*3180)

Term: Winter 2014


This course will cover some of the more central issues and positions in contemporary philosophy of mind. In lectures and class discussions we will deal with the following topics:

  • The ontology of the mind and its relation with the brain. Are mental states such as beliefs to be identified with states of the soul, chunks of brain-matter, with a certain pattern of brain processing, or what?
  • The metaphysics of phenomenal consciousness experience. How can a grey soup of chemicals and electrically active cells produce sensations of pain, colour experience, the emotion of infatuation, or vivid memories of last summer's holiday in Costa Rica?
  • The nature of mental content. How can a brain state be about the outside world? What is the structure of thought - is it, for example, structured just like a langauge, or more like a sequence of images, or what? What kind of access do we have to the contents of our own thoughts?

Our primary objectives are to:

  • understand and critically evaluate some of the principal these advanced by important contemporary philosophers of mind;
  • acquire some overall understanding of the main issues in modern philosophy of mind-issues which are fairly complex and inter-connected, and which are best understood by thinking about a sequence of central problems; and to
  • develop skills in reading and writing about complex and abstract ideas.



PDF icon PHIL3180 W14 Syllabus.pdf179.56 KB