Skip to main content

Instructor: Jim Pryor. This course meets MW 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in CO 201, with a recitation on Fridays.

This course will be an introduction to philosophy in the analytic tradition, by focusing on a few representative issues:

  1. How can we tell whether animals and future computers have “minds” — that is, their own thoughts, experiences, regrets, ambitions, self-awareness, and so on — or whether they’re instead just mindless automata?
  2. 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 and other mental states that you have?
  3. What does it take to have free will? Is this incompatible with one’s choices being programmed or physically determined?

The course will place a strong emphasis on learning how to read philosophical texts and how to evaluate and produce philosophically compelling arguments.