PHIL 101.001 – Introduction to Philosophy: Central Problems, Great Minds, Big Ideas
Instructor: Jim Pryor. This course meets MW 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in CP 211, with a recitation on Fridays.
An introduction to philosophy focusing on a few central problems.
(1) What does it take to have free will? Is this incompatible with one’s choices being programmed or physically determined?
(2) How can we tell whether animals and future computers have minds, or whether they’re instead just mindless automata?
(3) Relations between minds, brains, and machines: Are your mind and body made of different stuffs? If a machine duplicates the neural structure of your brain, would it have the same thoughts, experiences, and self-awareness that you have?
(4) Personal identity and its relation to surviving bodily death: What makes you the person you are? If we perfectly recorded all the neural patterns in your brain, could we use that to “bring you back” after a fatal accident?
(5) Questions about the nature and disvalue of death: What does it mean to die? Do you have an immortal soul which could survive the death of your body? Why is death bad? How can it be bad for people who aren’t alive anymore to be harmed?
Gen Ed: PH.
Grading status: Letter grade.