What is it for us to think, feel, perceive, and intend the things we do? Is it for us to be in some physical, biological, neurological, or computational condition of a certain special kind? Or are our mental lives somehow basic or primitive — not grounded in anything more fundamental than themselves? In this course we will take up and address this question from various different angles, with sustained guidance from some of the most influential figures of late 20th-century philosophy, including Davidson, Searle, Nagel, Lewis, Kripke, Putnam, Burge, McDowell, and Chalmers. Our goal will be to understand, in some limited yet stable way, how creatures with minds like ours could possibly be part of a world like this one.
This course will be taught by Matthew Evans, who joins the Department Fall 11 as Associate Professor.