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Philosophy of Mind

by University of New Orleans

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Course Description

Fundamental questions are questions that cannot be resolved through observation or experience alone. Since the beginning of Western philosophy, philosophers have attempted to resolve several fundamental questions about minds. Recent advances in the cognitive and neural sciences have made settling these questions (or determining what is most reasonable to believe) the subject of much debate. Through texts, podcasts, TV, film, and online discussions, the aim of this course is to critically explore some historical but mostly recent attempts to resolve the following fundamental questions about minds:
 
  • What is the nature of the mind? Are minds souls, thinking substance, matter, brains, or a kind of computer software?
  • Can dualists overcome the mind-body problem?
  • What sort of "things" have minds? How can we tell whether something has a mind? Is it possible for a machine to have a mind? How should we tell whether a machine is intelligent?
  • Wherein lies personal identity? (That is, what makes you you and me me?) Sameness of body? Consciousness? Memories? Behavior?
  • What is a computer? What distinguishes digital computers from analog ones? What is the philosophical significance of the brain being a computer?
  • What is consciousness?
  • Wherein lies the meaning of our concepts? In our head (internalism) or out in the world (externalism)?
Along the way, we shall explore several theories of mind (dualism, behaviorism, identity theory, eliminative materialism, and functionalism), the mind-body problem, the problem of other minds (as applied to both persons and intelligent machines), the Turing Test, Searle’s Chinese Room Thought Experiment, and a few theories about personal identity. 

Customer Reviews

"I'm on a boat!"

Wonderful. I love how he references back to the fact that he is on a boat during his lectures.

Exceptional

Well spoken, informative and interesting.

Student

Great style!

Philosophy of Mind
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