PHIL 1320: Theories of the Mind
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This course will examine major philosophical (and in some cases psychological) theories and arguments concerning the nature of mind and mental life. We will explore the philosophical implications of those theories for the nature of the self, the explanation of behavior, computer models of the mind, immortality and resurrection, parapsychology, and perhaps more. Key questions include: Are human beings composites of the physical and the non-physical (e. g. a soul)? Are they instead clumps of matter? What accounts for subjective experiences like sensory images and feelings? What is a self? How is human behavior to be explained? Can computers think, and in what sense? Can they feel, and in what sense? Is immortality possible? Is immortality a good condition, or would it be beset by problems like boredom, as some have claimed? Although this is a course in general philosophy, and therefore most of the readings are from non-Jewish philosophers, we will utilize some sources from Tanakh, Hazal, and Jewish philosophers, which we will compare and contrast with non-Jewish outlooks (in the spirit of Torah u-Madda).¶ Course objectives: It is anticipated that you will • Familiarize yourself with the various sides of each topic below and the arguments for and against each position. • Familiarize yourself with important thinkers who have addressed the topics. • Enhance your ability to interpret philosophical texts. • Enhance your ability to create arguments of your own, both critical and constructive. • Enhance your ability to communicate clearly, systematically, and critically. • Analyze and assess current debates about the mind. • Enhance your ability to get philosophical jokes.
Shatz, D. (2022, Spring). PHIL 1320: Theories of the Mind, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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