Philosophy 3 - The Nature of Mind
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PHILOSOPHY 3: THE NATURE OF MIND
Answer ONE of the following questions in a paper of 3-5 pages, double-spaced, in a regular font. The paper is due at 2.00pm on Friday October 12th, in your GSIs mailbox in 301 Moses Hall.
Late papers will not be accepted without prior arrangement.
The first paragraph of your essay must state the main thesis for which you wish to argue in the essay.
The last paragraph must restate the main thesis, summarize the way in which you have argued for it, and indicate any outstanding problems.
1. Descartes argues that your knowledge of yourself is quite different to your knowledge of any physical thing. Is he right about this? Explain and assess Descartes’ view of the distinction between mind and body.
2. What does Ryle's 'logical behaviorism' say that a mental state is? Could logical behaviorism be correct for some mental states but wrong for others? Is Putnam's 'Super-Spartans' argument a good criticism of logical behaviorism? Does knowledge of one's own mental states pose a problem for logical behaviorism?
3. Are mental states really brain states? Is it possible that there are animals with mental states like ours but without brains like ours? If so, does this show that mental states cannot be brain states? What does functionalism say about this?
4. Explain the functionalist view of the mind. Ned Block thinks that his example of China’s population instantiating the same causal relations as those of your mental life is a problem for functionalism. Is it a problem? Does the example show that there are any particular aspects of your mental life that can’t be explained functionally?
5. What is the computer model of the mind? Does Searle's 'Chinese Room' argument show the computer model is mistaken?
6. If we have a full physical understanding of how a bat works, is there anything left to find out? If so, what? Is there a problem here for physicalism?
Essay Two Due Friday, November 9th
Final Exam Thursday, December 13th, 3.00-6.00pm