Phil 5570: Philosophy of Psychology

David Cole
Fall 2003

Tu-Th 3:00 - 4:30 in 245 ABAH
email: dcole

This course covers philosophical questions about psychology and its primary subject matter, minds. After a look at past and current theories of mind and methodologies in psychology, we will primarily be concerned with two topics: theories of mental representation, and the nature and function of consciousness.

Questions we will explore:

Conceptual and Metaphysical: What are minds? What is the relation of mind to body?

Mental Representations: How do brains represent propositional information? What is the relation of language to thought? What types of mental images are there and what role do they play in cognition?

Consciousness: What forms of consciousness are there? What function(s) does consciousness have, and how did it evolve? How is consciousness related to brain activity? Could computing machines be conscious?



Journal articles to include:
John Searle "The Problem of Consciousness"
Joseph Levine "Recent Work on Consciousness"
John Searle, "Minds, Brains and Programs"
David Cole "Artificial Intelligence and Personal Identity"
Jerry Fodor "Fodor's Guide to Mental Representation"
Ned Block "Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology"



Tutorials will meet face-to-face and online. Short papers will be uploaded by members of each small tutorial group. Students will then discuss posted papers, asking questions, making comments, and raising objections. The instructor will visit each online tutorial, join the discussion, and assess the contributions of participants.

Paper topics suggestions: