Course Content and Outcome Guide for PHL 212 Effective Summer 2016
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind
Introduces historical and contemporary thought in the philosophy of mind, considering traditional philosophical questions about the nature of the human person in the light of recent research in the cognitive sciences. Includes reading pertinent philosophical and related texts, and may involve museum and research facility field trips, the informal replication of experiments demonstrating interesting aspects of conscious experience, and the utilization of pertinent online, film, and other contemporary media accounts. Features texts from the literature of philosophy of mind, such as discussions of brains in vats, zombies, the plight of color-blind neuroscientists, and what it's like to be a bat. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.
Intended Outcomes for the course
Upon successful completion students should be able to:Read and critically assess important writings in the philosophy of mind and related disciplines,in order to understand the variety of historical and contemporary interpretations of the natureof mind.Recognize and reflect on major issues pertaining to the relationship of thinking and the brain, inorder to better participate in contemporary discussions of the nature of the human person inpopular and academic literature.Become familiar with and utilize concepts and language for discussing the nature of mind in thelight of contemporary neuroscience, in order to better communicate an understanding ofhuman activity in the context of current culture.Reflect on the relationship of philosophy of mind to views in ethics, aesthetics and religion, inorder to reflect on the importance of understanding the mind as well as other fundamental lifeconcerns.
Course Activities and Design
Reading, writing and discussion based on key texts in philosophy of mindInstructor lecturesViewing and discussion of pertinent film and video materialsIndividual and team student projectsConsideration of behavioral and thought experiments of the kind used in philosophy of mindPossible field trips to lectures, films, museums, other events or institutionsFormal written papers
Outcome Assessment Strategies
For all outcomes listed in Learning Outcomes above, assessment will include, as appropriate:--Evaluation of attendance and participation in class activities--Evaluation of written discussion materials--Written testing on key ideas--Evaluation of individual and team student class projects--Evaluation of formal written papers
Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)
Themes: the nature of the person, the relationship of body to mindConcepts: person, mind, body, consciousness, sentience, thoughtIssues: whether the mind and body are two separate things or are rather the one reducible to theother, whether neuro-biologyespecially brain sciencecan explain mental phenomenaSkills: recognizing and understanding key texts, ideas and authors in the philosophy of mind,thinking critically about key issues in the philosophy of mind