Howard University College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Philosophy
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Philosophy of Mind

Phil 178

Dr. Cara Spencer

This course introduces students to various central problems in the philosophy of mind, among them:
• What is the relationship between a person's mind and that person's body? Is a person’s mind something “over and above” that person’s body, or is it just a part or aspect of that person’s physical body?
• Can we even have a completely objective scientific understanding of the mind? Which features of the mind, if any, might resist complete scientific investigation or description?
• What can philosophy tell us about the mind that science can't tell us?
• Can computers think, or be intelligent, or experience mental states of any kind? If so, what, if anything, does this mean about our own minds? And if not, why not—what exactly does a computer lack that makes it incapable of thought, intelligence, or mentality?
• Each one of us exists over time. We change over time, but there obviously is some underlying constancy or continuity that makes us the same person from day to day and year to year. What is this underlying constancy or continuity? Is it just continuity of the body, or does psychological continuity have something to do with it as well?
• How can our experiences, thoughts, and beliefs represent or be about, ordinary objects like tables, birds, and toothbrushes?

To examine these questions, we will draw on a variety of philosophical texts, mainly drawn from the second half of the twentieth century.

• David Braddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson. Philosophy of Mind and Cognition. Blackwell Publishers. (ISBN: 0631191682 (paperback)) (price: $36.95)
• John Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality Indianapolis: Hackett Publishers (ISBN: 0915144530(paperback)) (price: $5.95)
• John Searle, Mind: A Brief Introduction New York: Oxford University Press (ISBN: 9780195157346 (paperback) (price: $16.95)
• Electronic reserves


African American Philosophy
Afro-Caribbean Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Classical Ethics
Comparative Philosophy: Philosophical Explanations of Evil Across Cultures
Current Topics: Philosophy and Ethics of Appropriate Technology and Development
Current Topics: Africana Philosophy and Film
Environmental Ethics
Ethics and Public Policy
Ethics of Medical Care
Ethics of Medical Care
History of Africana Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
Philosophy of Education
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Social Science
Principles of Reasoning
Representative Thinkers
Seminar on Aristotle 
Symbolic Logic


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