Philosophy of Mind

Dr. Matt McCormick

Phil. 153, sect.

MW, 1:30-2:45, DH 208

Spring 2009

 

Office:  Mendocino 3020          Office Hours            Office phone:  278-7372             email:  mccormick@csus.edu                          

Webpage:  www.csus.edu/indiv/m/mccormickm

 

Philosophy Department Office:  Mendocino 3032, 278-6424

 

Catalog Description

 

Required Texts: Brain-Wise:  Studies in Neurophilosophy.   by Patricia Smith Churchland.  MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2002.  ISBN:  0-262-03301-1

 

Blindsight  by Peter Watts, Tor books, 2008.  ISBN-10:  076531960

 

CPS Gen 2 RF HE  Response Pad, from Einstruction.            Bookstore link to books and clicker

 

CPS Course Code:  M49271I921  (the seventh letter is a capital "i") 

 

The Course:  Traditionally, philosophy of mind has concerned itself with questions like, what is a mind?  how are they constructed, what are they made of? What sorts of things can have minds?  Can computers or machines think?  Are there even such things as minds?   Since minds are produced by the functioning of brains, work in this field of philosophy on these questions has been massively and irreversibly affected by the rapid expansion of modern neuroscience.  This course is about philosophical attempts to understand the mind as it has been informed by relevant developments in neuroscience.

 

Grades:

 

Grading Structure

Number

Value

Papers 2 10%
Clicker Quizzes 12 3%
Midterm 1 12%
Final Exam 1 12%
Attendance and Participation  

10%

Google Groups discussion board  

10%

Total  

100%

 

 

 

Attendance

 

Being Tardy

 

Cheating

 

Grading Guidelines

 

Writing Guidelines

 

Students with Disabilities

 

Late Assignments

 

Missed Assignments

 

Laptops in class

 

 

Course schedule:  Here is an outline of the authors and topics that we will be discussing, and the page numbers of the readings.  The schedule is subject to change to fit class lectures.

 

SacCT:  lecture notes and some readings will be posted on SacCT: https://online.csus.edu/webct/entryPageIns.dowebct

 

 

Week 1: Course Introduction and Philosophy of Mind Overview

 

Readings:  Thinking Meat? Terry Bisson

 

Week 2:  Philosophy of Mind Overview continued.

 

Readings:  Descartes, Meditations 2 and 6

 

Week 3:  Connectionism

 

Readings:  "Connectionism, Eliminativism and The Future of Folk Psychology," Ramsey, Stich, Garon.  In SacCT Readings folder.

Connectionism

 

Introduction to Connectionism:

    Anatomy of a Connectionist Model

    Unit Behavior, Activations, Weights, and Outputs

    Network Behavior, Emergence, and Learning

 

Week 4:  Mind and Neuroscience

 

Readings: 

Neurons, Synapses, Action Potentials, and Neurotransmission

 

Brainwise:  Introduction, 1-34

Blindsight, Prologue, 1-18.

Week 5:  Neuroscience and the Metaphysics of Mind

 

Readings: 

Brainwise:  An Introduction to Metaphysics, 37-58.

Week 6 and 7:  Self and Knowing One's Own Mind

 

Readings:

Brainwise:  Self and Self-Knowledge, 59-126.

Blindsight, Theseus, 19-138.

 

First Paper:  Naysayers! due on Wed. March 18th

Week 8:  Consciousness

 

Readings: 

Brainwise, Consciousness, 127-200. 

Brainwise, Free Will, 201-238.

How Unconscious Mechanisms Affect Thought:  http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-unconscious-mechanisms

Week 9:  Spring Break

 

Week 10:  Consciousness continued.

 

Readings: 

Brainwise, Consciousness, 127-200. 

Brainwise, Free Will, 201-238.

Midterm

 

Week 11:  Epistemology of Mind:  How do brains know? 

 

Readings: 

Brainwise, Epistemology Introduction, 241-272.

Blindsight, Rorschach, 139-354.

Week 12:  Epistemology of Mind continued.

Readings: 

Brainwise, Epistemology Introduction, 241-272.

Blindsight, Rorschach, 139-354

 

Week 13:  Representation

 

Readings:

Brainwise, How Do Brains Represent?  273-320.

Week 14:  Representation, contined.

 

Readings:

Brainwise, How Do Brains Represent?  273-320.

Week 15:  Learning

 

Readings: 

Brainwise, How Do Brains Learn?  321-370. 

Blindsight, Charybdis, 355-362.

Week 16:  Course Summary and Review

 

Final Exam:  Monday, May 18, 12:45-2:45

 

________________________________

 

 

 

Google Groups Discussions:

 

All students are required to make regular, constructive, and considered contributions to our discussion board on Google Groups.  The address is: http://groups.google.com/group/csus-mind  

 

Getting started: 

 

Create a Google Account:

1.  Go to:  https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount  If you don't already have an account, create one with the link on the lower right. 

2.  Once you have an account and you are logged in you can join the group at this address:  http://groups.google.com/group/csus-mind

3.  Posting questions, comments, and ideas:  Under "Discussions," there will be different threads of conversation with questions and comments from Prof. McCormick and other students.  Choose topics and questions that you find interesting and make a post, or ask new questions and start a thread of your own. 

 

 

Grading:  Students who make frequent, reflective, and helpful posts (at least 10 for the semester) will receive a full 10% for this portion of the grade.  Lesser contributions will be graded proportionally lower.  Contributions will be evaluated on the basis of these criteria:

  1. How frequently did the student post?

  2. How constructive and thoughtful were the student's contributions?

  3. To what extent did the student's posts reflect an engagement in the concepts, issues, and philosophical challenges focused on in the course?

  4. To what extent did the student's posts reflect his or her familiarity with the assigned readings for the course?

 

 

Links and Notes:

 

 

Functionalism

Consciousness

Eliminative materialism

Turing test

Chinese room argument

epiphenomenalism

qualia

Philosophy of Neuroscience

http://www.human-nature.com/nibbs/03/landreth.html

 

Patricia Churchland's links for the book:

http://philosophy.ucsd.edu/courses

Neuroanatomy     http://thalamus.wustl.edu/course  http://www.vh.org/adult/provider/anatomy/BrainAnatomy/BrainAnatomy.html

Neuroscience vocabulary  http:// www.neurosim.wisc.edu

Comp. Neuro        http://www.cnl.salk.edu/CNL/

CogSci Encyclopedia      http://mitpress.mit.edu/MITECS

Consciousness http://psych.pomona.edu/scr    and http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/

 

Daniel Dennett, Quining Qualia, pages 226-246. 

http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/quinqual.htm

David Chalmers, Consciousness and Its Place in Nature, pages 247-272.

http://consc.net/papers/nature.html

Koch and Crick, On the Zombie Within:  http://www.klab.caltech.edu/refweb/paper/397.pdf

H.G. Wells, The Country of the Blind, http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/3/

Paul Churchland, The Rediscovery of Light, pages 362-370  http://www.jstor.org/pss/2940998

David Chalmers, What is a Neural Correlate of Consciousness?  http://consc.net/papers/ncc2.html

Koch and Crick, A framework for consciousness. Nature Neuroscience (2003) 6, 119-126   http://www.klab.caltech.edu/refweb/paper/438.pdf

Daniel Dennett, The Global Workspace Model, http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/cognition.fin.htm

Churchland, Patricia "Consciousness: The Transmutation of a Concept," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, (1983) pp. 80-95.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/

http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/djs_lab/demos.html

http://www.overcomingbias.com/welcome.html

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3658963188758918426

http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jab257/bargh_chartrand_1999.pdf

http://pantheon.yale.edu/%7Ejab257/publications.html

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2112.html

http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/Neuropsychologia_Rosenthal_2008.pdf

http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/Science_The_Right_Choice.pdf