Debates concerning the nature of mind and consciousness are active and ongoing, with implications for philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence and the neurosciences. It is difficult to understand how minds fit into the physical world and interact with material things. It is hard to explain how minds are capable of representing the world. And it is a deep mystery how conscious experience relates to our bodies and brains. This course will take a philosophical approach to these questions, exploring some of the metaphysical and conceptual issues that underlie psychological and neuroscientific explanations. We will begin by grappling with the Mind/Body problem via discussion of dualism, mind-body identity, functionalism, computationalism and connectionism. We will consider the frame problem and embodied cognition as well as issues concerning mental representation. We will examine the hard problem of consciousness and its central arguments. We will also consider the nature of reductive or mechanistic explanation and how they might bear on the nature and possibilities of free will.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand and articulate some of the prominent issues in philosophy of mind.
- Analyse and critically evaluate theories, arguments and presuppositions of prominent figures in philosophy of mind.
- Argue for a philosophical position related to the material covered in the course.
- Engage in philosophical discussion and debate, verbalise interpretations and criticisms of the various ideas discussed throughout the course.
Indicative AssessmentTwo Essays 2000 words each (40% each for a total of 80%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3)
Reading Response Journal, total 1000 words (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2)
Tutorial Participation (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4)
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Any relevant materials will be outlined on the Wattle site.
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