Syllabus for Phil GA 1103, Advanced Introduction to Philosophy of Mind

 

Instructors:

Ned Block, ned.block@nyu.edu, Office hours by appointment

Dave Chalmers, chalmers@nyu.edu, Office hours Wed 4-6 and by appointment

 

This course will explore classic themes in the philosophy of mind through the lens of recent work.  Each week there will be a main reading from the last decade or so and a background reading which is older, plus extra readings.  Students should read at least the main and the background reading.  In each class we will start by discussing background and then move to the main reading.

Course requirement: one 20 page paper due at the last class or a 10 page in the middle of the term with a revised version at the end.  Students in their first two years are advised to take the latter option.

 

Topics and readings listed below are tentative and many may be changed

 

Further readings on all of these topics can be found in the philosophy of mind section of PhilPapers

 

September 5: Business meeting

 

September 12: Chalmers

The meta-problem of consciousness

David Chalmers, The meta-problem of consciousness, forthcoming as a target article in the Journal of Consciousness Studies

Background:

David Chalmers (2003), "Consciousness and its Place in Nature".  In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell. pp. 102--142 (2003).

Extra Readings:

Keith Frankish, Illusionism as a Theory of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 23(11-12) (2016)

Daniel Dennett, Why and How Does Consciousness Seem the Way it Seems? MIND Anniversary Collection. J. Windt and T. Metzinger. Frankfurt am Main, Barbara-Wengeler-Stiftung: 2015

 

September 19: Block

Deflationary pluralism

Geoffrey Lee, Alien Subjectivity and the Importance of Consciousness, forthcoming in  Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar,  MIT Press

Background:

Thomas Nagel (1974), "What is it Like to be a Bat?" The Philosophical Review, LXXXIII (4), 435-450, 1974

Extra Reading:

Geoffrey Lee, Materialism and the Epistemic Significance of Consciousness, In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind. Routledge. pp. 222 (2013)

Ned Block, Geoff Lee's Hegemony of the Third Person, in Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar,  MIT Press

 

September 26: Chalmers

Panpsychism and idealism

Philip Goff, Cosmopsychism, Micropsychism and the Grounding Relation, In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge (forthcoming)

 

Background:

David Chalmers, Panpsychism and Panprotopsychism, in Panpsychism: Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Godehard Bruntrup and Ludwig Jaskolla, Oxford University Press

Extra Readings:

Hedda Hassel MorchIs Matter Conscious? Nautilus Magazine, April 6 2017

Galen Strawson, Realistic monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism in Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 pp 3-31: 2006

 

October 3: Block

Fading qualia

David Chalmers, Mind Uploading: A philosophical analysis, an excerpt from “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis,” in The Journal of Consciousness Studies (17: 7-65, 2010)

Background:

Block, N. (1978). "Troubles with functionalism." Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9: 261-325.

Extra Readings:

David Chalmers, Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia, Conscious Experience, edited by Thomas Metzinger. Imprint Academic, 1995

Michael Tye, " Homunculi Heads and Silicon Chips: The Importance of History to Phenomenology, forthcoming in a festschrift for Ned Block edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar

Ned Block, Reply to Tye (and Chalmers). Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar forthcoming from MIT Press

 

October 10: Chalmers

Intentionality 1

Karen Neander, A Mark of the Mental. Or here for the NYU library address. Read Chapters 6 and 7

Background:

Karen Neander, A Mark of the Mental, Chapter 1

Fred Adams and Ken Aizawa, Causal Theories of Mental Content, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Extra Reading:

Ruth Millikan, Biosemantics, Journal of Philosophy, VOLUME LXXXVI, NO. 6, JUNE 1989

Nicholas Shea, Representation in Cognitive Science, Oxford University Press, 2018

 

October 17: Block

Higher order theories of consciousness

Hakwan Lau and Richard Brown, The Emperor's New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experiences without First-Order Representation, Lau, H. and R. Brown. The Emperor’s New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experiences without First-Order Representations. Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar forthcoming from MIT Press.

Background:

Peter Carruthers, Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016

 

Extra Readings:

LeDoux, J. and R. Brown (2017). "A higher-order theory of emotional consciousness." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 1-10.

Ned Block, Empirical science meets higher order views of consciousness: Reply to Hakwan Lau and Richard Brown, in Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar forthcoming from MIT Press

 

October 24: Chalmers

Intentionality 2

Robbie Williams, The Nature of Representation, pages 1-50
Background

David Lewis, Radical Interpretation, Synthese 27 (July-August):331-344 (1974)

Extra Readings

David Lewis, Putnam's Paradox, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):221 – 236

Donald Davidson, Toward a Unified Theory of Meaning and Action, (scroll down to Chapter 10) Grazer Philosophische Studien 11:1-12 (1980)

 

October 31: Block

Is perception non-propositional?

Ned Block, part of Chapter 3 of The Border between perception and Cognition

Background:

Tim Crane, Is Perception a Propositional Attitude? Philosophical Quarterly 59, 236, p. 452-469

 

November 7: Chalmers

Intentionality 3

Adam Pautz, Consciousness Meets Lewisian Interpretation Theory

 

Background:

Terry Horgan and John Tienson, The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality

Extra Readings:

David Bourget and Angela Mendelovici, Phenomenal Intentionality, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2017

 

November 14: Block

Is perception non-conceptual?

Ned Block, Chapter 5 of The Border between perception and Cognition (This chapter refers to Figure 1 and Figure 13.)

Background:

Christopher Peacocke (2001). "Does Perception Have a Nonconceptual Content?" (or here), Journal of Philosophy 98: 239-264.

 

November 21: NO CLASS

 

November 28: Block

Attention and Perception

Wayne Wu, Attention and Perception: A Necessary Connection? In Current Controversies in Philosophy of Perception. B. Nanay, Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, 2017

Background:

Christopher Mole, "Explanatory Roles for Attention", Section 3 of Attention, Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy, 2013

 

December 5: Chalmers

Group Minds

Eric Schwitzgebel, "If materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious," Philosophical Studies (2015) 172:1697–1721

Background

Deborah Tollefsen, "Organizations as true believers,", Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume 33, Issue 3 (2002)

 

 

December 12: Block and Chalmers

Probabilities in Belief and Perception

Belief:

Scott Sturgeon, "The Tale of Bella and Creda" Philosophers' Imprint 15, 31: 2015

Perception:

John Morrison, "Perceptual Confidence," Analytic Philosophy (2016), 1-34 

Rachel Denison, "Precision, Not Confidence, Describes the Uncertainty of Perceptual Experience: Comment on John Morrison's "Perceptual Confidence", Analytic Philosophy (2017) 58, 1

 

Background:

Lina Eriksson and Alan Hajek, "What are Degrees of Belief?" Studia Logica, 86, 2, 2007

Extra Reading

John Morrison, Perceptual Confidence and Categorization", Analytic Philosophy (2017) 58, 1