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Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 30030
2010-11 semester 1
Level: 3

Credits: 5

Module co-ordinator: Rowland Stout


Office hours: Wednesday 1-2, Thursday 12-1 in D502.
Lecturers:

Rowland Stout
Paal Antonsen

rowland.stout@ucd.ie
antonsep@tcd.ie

If you have any questions about the course or its content, do not hesitate to send either
lecturer an e-mail.
Course Description:
This module has two strongly related streams which will be taught concurrently.
Rowland Stout will introduce the concept of the mind, and explore the relationship
between mind and behaviour and the nature of conscious experience.
Paal Antonsen will consider arguments for innate cognitive structures, and develop the
implications of these arguments for the relationship between thought and language and
for the possibility of Artificial Intelligence. Heres a puzzle: when you grew up you were
stimulated by a relatively small amount of experiential data compared to the capacity for
thoughts that you developed. If your cat were to be stimulated by the same experiential
data, it would be as happily ignorant of such thoughts as ever. A natural inference to draw
is that there must be some innate structure that you have that your cat doesnt have. But
how much is innate and what does it look like? The answer to that question would be
similar to the answer to the question what does Chomskys poverty of stimulus argument
teach us? That is the main question of this part of the course. We start by reviewing
Chomskys original argument, and then go on to discuss neo-behaviourist responses,
compositionality of language, neo-Darwinian explanations and the possibility of a
language of thought.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this course you will be able to:
exhibit an understanding of some central issues in contemporary philosophy of mind;
engage critically and independently with some of the main ideas that have been
worked out in response to these issues;
develop some arguments of your own concerning mind and action.

Assessment:
There will be one course essay, worth 30% of final grade. The essay will be due in by 3
p.m. on Friday of week 7 (29th October 2010). The essay must both be submitted
electronically through Safe Assign in Blackboard and also handed in as a hard copy with
a signed covering sheet to D504. The essay must be submitted in both these ways by the
deadline or it will get late-submission penalties. Extensions will only be offered by the
module co-ordinator if the student has a certified reason for this which is presented in
advance of the deadline. Please do not use internet resources to help you with this essay.
You may access some of the articles on the internet, but if you use other internet
resources to give you ideas for the essay there is a real danger that your essay will suffer
from plagiarism. The essay title, suggested readings and essay writing advice will be
provided early on in the course. The essay should be about 2000 words long with an
upper limit of 2500.
There will be a 2 hour written exam at the end of the semester with 2 questions to be
answered, one from each part of the course; this will be worth 70% of the final grade.

Reading:
We will make sure that required reading is provided in the Student Union photocopying
section, is available online or is available in the library. There is no set text for the
course.
Week by week course plan:
Week 1 (i):

Introduction (PA)

Week 1 (ii):

Subjectivity and Agency The Concept of Mind (RAKS)

Week 2 (i):

The Poverty of Stimulus Argument (I) (PA)

Week 2 (ii):

Varieties of Behaviourism (RAKS)

Week 3 (i):

The Poverty of Stimulus Argument (II) (PA)

Week 3 (ii):

Arguments against behaviourism (RAKS)

Week 4 (i):

Neo-Behaviourism (I): Putnam (PA)

Week 4 (ii):

Mental Causation (RAKS)

Week 5 (i):

Neo-Behaviourism (II): Quine (PA)

Week 5 (ii):

Identity Theories of the Mind (I) (RAKS)

Week 6 (i):

Compositionality (I) (PA)

Week 6 (ii):

Identity Theories of the Mind (II) (RAKS)

Week 7 (i):

Compositionality (II) (PA)

Week 7 (ii):

Beliefs and Intentions (RAKS)

Week 8 (i):

Fodor (I): Against Neo-Behaviourism (PA)

Week 8 (ii)

Self-Deception (RAKS)

Week 9 (i):

Neo-Darwinism (I): Pinker (PA)

Week 9 (ii):

Rational Interpretation - Davidson and Dennett (RAKS)

Week 10 (i):

Neo-Darwinism (II): Dennett (PA)

Week 10 (ii): Qualitative Experience (RAKS)


Week 11 (i):

Neo-Darwinism (III): Fodor (PA)

Week 11 (ii): Consciousness and Unconsciousness (RAKS)


Week 12 (i):

Summary (PA)

Week 12 (ii)

Is the Mind inside the Head? (RAKS)

READING LISTS OF THINGS TO READ IN ADVANCE OF EACH LECTURE


- More complete lists will be provided as the course progresses
Rowland Stout
WEEK 1 Gilbert Ryle (1949), The Concept of Mind, chapter 1.
WEEK 2 Rudolf Carnap (1932), Psychology in Physical language, Erkenntnis 3.
WEEK 3 Hilary Putnam (1963), Brains and Behavior, in his Mind, Language and
Reality.
WEEK 4 Elizabeth Anscombe (1957), Intention, sections 5-16.
WEEK 5 Donald Davidson (1970), Mental Events, in his Essays on Actions and
Events.
WEEK 6 Jaegwom Kim (1979), Causality, Identity and Supervenience, MidWest
Studies in Philosophy 4.
WEEK 7 Richard Braithwaite (1933), The nature of believing, Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society 33.
WEEK 8 Mark Johnston (1988), Self deception and the nature of mind, in Rorty and
McLaughlin (ed.) Perspectives on Self Deception.
WEEK 9 Daniel Dennett (1981), True Believers: the Intentional Strategy and why it
works, in his Intentional Stance.

WEEK 10 Frank Jackson (1982), Epiphenomenal Qualia Philosophical Quarterly 32.


WEEK 11 David Rosenthal (1986), Two Concepts of Consciousness Philosophical
Studies 49
WEEK 12 Hilary Putnam (1975), The Meaning of Meaning, in his Mind, Language
and Reality.
Paal Antonsen
WEEK 2 & 3 Chomsky, N. (1959) Review of Skinners Verbal Behaviour. Language.
35. 36 58.
WEEK 4 Putnam, H. (1967) The 'Innateness Hypothesis' and Explanatory Models in
Linguistics. Synthese. 17. 12 22.
WEEK 5 Quine, W. (1968) Linguistics & Philosophy. The Ways of Paradox and Other
Essays. Harvard UP. Cambridge. Mass. 56 58.
AND
Quine, W. (1970) Methodological Reflections on Current Linguistic Theory. Synthese. 21.
386 398.
WEEK 6 Fodor, J. & Lepore, E. (2002) The Compositionality Papers. 1 26.
WEEK 7 Fodor, J. & Lepore, E. (2002) The Compositionality Papers. 135 155.
WEEK 8 Fodor, J. (2001a) Language, Thought and Compositionality. Mind & Language.
16. 1 15.
WEEK 9 Pinker, S. (1994) The Language Instinct. Penguin Books. London. 55 82.
WEEK 10 Dennett, D. (1995) Darwins Dangerous Idea. Penguin. London. 384 427.
WEEK 11 Fodor, J. (2001b) The Mind Doesnt Work That Way. MIT Press. Cambridge,
Mass. 79 101.