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Course materials 2015/16

Lecturer: Matthew Soteriou



Introductory Books

Heil, J. Philosophy of Mind:A Contemporary Introduction

McGinn, C. 1991. The Character of Mind: an Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Originally published 1982.)

Kim, J. 1996. The Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Westview Press.


Chalmers, D. Philosophy of Mind: Clasical and Contemporary Readings

Rosenthal, D., ed. 1991. The Nature of Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lycan, W. ed. 1990. Mind and Cognition: a Reader. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Guttenplan, S., ed. 1994. A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Blackwell Reference.

Further reading can be found in the COURSE HANDBOOK

Plan of Lecture Topics

Week 1: An Introduction to Physicalism and Mind-Body Problems

Handout Slides

Week 2: Identity Theories of Mind

Handout Slides

Week 3: Davidson’s Anomalous Monism

Reading: S.Evnine, Donald Davidson, Ch. 1; Ch. 4

Handout Slides

Week 4: Functionalism

Handout Slides

Week 5: Modal Arguments for Dualism

Handout Slides

Week 7: The Phenomenology of Experience and the Appeal to Introspection

Handout Slides

Reading: Robinson, Ch. II

Week 8: The Content of Experience

Handout Slides

Week 9: Other Minds and the Metaphysics of Mind

Handout Slides

Week 10: The Epistemological Problem of Other Minds

Handout Slides

Essay Questions – Philosophy of Mind

Are all mental states multiply realisable? If so, should this lead us to reject type identity physicalist theories?

Are there any good reasons for thinking that there can be no strict psycho-physical laws?

What are the most powerful objections to Functionalist accounts of the mental? Are there any adequate responses to them?

‘The fact that our conscious experiences and sensations have phenomenal properties should lead us to reject all physicalist accounts of the mental’. Discuss.

Explain what you take to be the best version of an identity theory, justifying your choice against competitors.

‘The fatal flaw with type-identity physicalism is its failure to accommodate the fact that mental states are multiply realisable.’ Discuss.

Is there a defensible form of type-identity physicalism?

Explain and assess Davidson’s argument for his version of an identity theory.

Critically assess Davidson’s arguments for the claim that there are no strict psycho-physical laws.

Is Davidson’s anomalous monism an objectionable form of epiphenomenalism?

Are functionalist theories improvements on identity theories, and if so why?

What are the most powerful objections to functionalist accounts of the mental?

Can functionalism account for the qualitative character of mental states, and if not does this mean that we should reject functionalism?

Critically assess what you take to be the best argument for property dualism.

Critically assess Kripke’s argument against type-identity physicalist theories.

Is Jackson’s argument against physicalism compelling?

What account should be given of perceptual hallucination, and what, if anything, does this show about the experiences we have when we genuinely perceive the world?

Critically assess what you take to be the best argument for a sense-datum theory of perception.