PHIL 340.001 – Philosophy of Mind

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Instructor: Dean Pettit. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in CW 105.

The mind is the locus of consciousness, as well as our capacity to think, feel, desire, and form intentions. These capacities of the mind appear anomalous, even miraculous, in the physical world. Physical objects do not seem to have any of these qualities—consciousness, thoughts, feelings, intentions—or even a hint of them. This gives rise to a puzzle: can the mind be part of the physical world, and if so how? In this course we will survey a range of philosophical theories that aim to reconcile the mind and its qualities with the physical world. In the course of grappling with this we will need to get clearer on the nature of the mind and its qualities. What is consciousness? How do we account for the qualitative character experience seems to have? What is the nature of thought and what is it for a thought to be about something?

Prerequisite: at least 1 PHIL course