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

 

Instructors:

Ned Block, ned.block@nyu.edu, Office hours Wed 4-6, and 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,
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

Attention and consciousness

De Brigard, F., & Prinz, J. (2010). Attention and consciousness. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(1), 51–59. http://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.27

Wayne Wu, Is Attention Necessary for Perception?, in ed. B. NanayCurrent Controversies in Philosophy of Perception, New York: Routledge, (2017): 148-162.

Berit Brogaard and Robert Kentridge, The Functional Roles of Attention" in ed. B. NanayCurrent Controversies in Philosophy of Perception, New York: Routledge, (2017): 139-147.

Extra Readings:

Michael Cohen, Daniel Dennett, Nancy Kanwisher, "What is the Bandwidth of Perceptual Experience?" Trends in Cognitive Sciences, May 2016

Naotsugu Tsuchiya and Christof Koch, The Relationship between consciousness and top-down attention, in Cognitive Neuroscience V (ed Gazzaniga) (2014), pp. 839-853

Jeroen van Boxtel and Naotsugu Tsuchiya, De-confounding the neural constitution of phenomenal consciousness from attention, report and memory* The constitution of phenomenal consciousness: Toward a science and theory (editor Steve M. Miller), Amsterdam, John Benjamins pp. 81-103

 

November 7: Chalmers

Implicit attitudes

Tamar GendlerAlief and Belief, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 105, No. 10, Epistemic Norms. Part Two (Oct., 2008), pp. 634-663

Background:

Jerry Fodor, Three Cheers for Propositional Attitudes, Chapter 4 of Psychosemantics.  

Extra Readings:

Eric SchwitzgebelA Dispositional Approach to Attitudes: Thinking Outside the Belief Box in Nottelman, New Essays on Belief, 2013

Eric Mandelbaum, Attitude, Inference,  Association", Nous 2014

Neil Levy, Implicit Bias and Moral Responsibility: Probing the Data, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. XCIV No. 1, January 2017

 

November 14: Block

Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Gary Marcus, Deep Learning: A Critical Appraisal

Background:

Steven Pinker and Michael T. Ullman, The past and future of the past tense, Pages 456-463, Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Extra Reading:

Gary Marcus, In defense of skepticism about deep learning

Steven Pinker and Michael Ullman, Combination and structure, not gradedness, is the issue, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Pages 472-474

 

November 21: NO CLASS

 

November 28: Chalmers

Artificial Intelligence

TBA

 

December 5: Block

TBA

 

December 12: Block and Chalmers

The conscious id

Mark Solms, "The Conscious Id", Neuropsychoanalysis 2013 (15) 1

Background:

Sigmund Freud, An Outline of Psychoanalysis, Part 1. (1940). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21:27-84

Extra Reading

The Conscious Id – The Reluctant Psychoanalyst reads Mark Solms, November 8, 2014