Syllabus | Phil 317 - Philosophy of Mind - Spring 2004

Mark Bedau
Vollum 141
751-7337 | bedau@reed.edu

Course meetings
Biweekly lecture/conference: Tu/Th 2:40-4:00.
Occasional class meetings on Tuesday or Thursday evening, 8:00–9:20 pm.

This course has two parts. The first part is an introduction to contemporary philosophy of mind, covering all of the main answers to all of the main questions considered in contemporary debates. The questions covered include the ontological status of the mind, the nature and implications of mental causation, the nature and source of intentionality, the nature of consciousness, and the status of folk psychology. Theories covered include dualism, the identity theory, machine and causal functionalism, intstrumentalism, eliminativism, and emergentism.

The second part of the course is an introduction to artificial intelligence and its implications for understanding the mind. Topics covered include classical artificial intelligence and its main challenges, such as the Chinese room argument and the frame problem; also covered are contemporary approaches to artificial intelligence, including connectionism, dynamical systems theory, and situated robotics.

Philosophy 200 and 201

Required work
1. miscellaneous exercises (in class and take home)
2. take-home exams (about 7)
3. a class presentation (details to be determined)

Required books
- William Lycan, ed. Mind and cognition: an anthology. Blackwell.
- Jaegwon Kim. Philosophy of mind. Westview.
- Margaret Boden, ed. The philosophy of artificial intelligence. Oxford UP.
- John Haugeland. Mind design II. MIT Press.

Course web site

Schedule of Topics

Introduction and logic review

Classical views

- Richard Taylor. Interactionism. In his Metaphysics [on reserve].
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch. 1.

Empirical and logical behaviorism
- Hilary Putnam. Brains and behavior. In Ned Block, ed., Readings in the philosophy of psychology, Vol. 1 [on reserve].
- Carl G. Hempel. The logical analysis of psychology. In Ned Block, ed., Readings in the philosophy of psychology, Vol. 1 [on reserve].
- B. F. Skinner, Selections from Science and Human Behavior. In Ned Block, ed., Readings in the philosophy of psychology, Vol. 1 [on reserve].
- Noam Chomsky. A review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. In Ned Block, ed., Readings in the philosophy of psychology, Vol. 1 [on reserve].
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 2.

Identity theory
- U. T. Place. Is consciousness a brain process? In Lycan.
- D. M. Armstrong. The causal theory of the mind. In Lycan.
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 3.


Functionalism: introduction
- Hilary Putnam. The nature of mental states. In Lycan.

Machine functionalism
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 4.

Causal functionalism
- Elliott Sober. Putting the function back into functionalism. In Lycan.
- Ned Block. An excerpt from “Troubles with functionalism.” In Lycan.
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 5.

Contemporary variants

- Daniel Dennett. True believers: the intentional strategy and why it works. In Lycan, and in Haugeland.
- Stephen Stich. Dennett on intentional systems. In Lycan.
- Daniel Dennett. Real patterns. In Lycan.

Eliminativism and folk psychology
- Paul Churchland. Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes. In Lycan.
- Stephen Stich. Attacking “folk psychology.” In Lycan.
- Terrence Horgan & James Woodward. Folk psychology is here to stay. In Lycan.

Supervenience and emergentism
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 9.

Key open questions

- Jerry Fodor. Why there still has to be a language of thought. In Lycan.
- Paul Churchland & Patricia Churchland. Stalking the wild epistemic engine. In Lycan.
- Ruth Millikan. Biosemantics. In Lycan.
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch. 8.

Mental causation
- Jaegwon Kim. Mental causation. In Lycan.
- Brian McLaughlin. Type epiphenomenalism, type dualism, and the causal priority of the physical.
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 6.

Consciousness and qualia
- Frank Jackson. Epiphenomenal qualia. In Lycan.
- David Lewis. What experience teaches. In Lycan.
- Robert van Gulick. Understanding the phenomenal mind: are we all just armadillos? In Lycan.
- Jaegwon Kim. Ch 7.

Classical artificial intelligence

Turing machines, universal computation, and undecidability
- [readings to be distributed]

The Turing test
- A. M. Turing. Computing machinery and intelligence. In Boden and in Haugeland.

Symbol manipulation systems
- Allen Newell & Herbert Simon. Computer science as empirical inquiry: symbols and search. In Boden, and in Haugeland.
- Marvin Minsky. A framework for representing knowledge. In Haugeland.

Challenges to classical artificial intelligence

The Chinese room argument
- John Searle. Minds, brains, and programs. In Boden, and in Haugeland.
- Margaret Boden. Escaping from the Chinese room. In Boden.

The frame problem
- Daniel Dennett. Cognitive wheels: the frame problem of AI. In Boden.
- Patrick Hayes. The naïve physics manifesto. In Boden.
- Drew McDermott. A critique of pure reason. In Boden.
- Hubert Dreyfus. From micro-worlds to knowledge representation: AI at an impasse.

Supple intelligence
- Mark Bedau. Supple laws in biology and psychology. [to be available on course web site]

New approaches to artificial intelligence

Connectionism: what it is
- Geoffrey Hinton, James McClelland, & David Rumelhard. Distributed representations. In Boden.
- David Rumelhart. The architecture of the mind: a connectionist approach. In Haugeland.
- Hubert Dreyfus & Stuart Dreyfus. Making a mind versus modelling the brain: artificial intelligence back at a branch-point. In Boden.
- Paul Smolensky. Connectionist modeling: neural computation / mental connections. In Haugeland.

Connectionism: philosophical implications
- William Bechtel. The case for connectionism. In Lycan.
- Andy Clark. Connectionism, competence, and explanation. In Boden.
- Paul Churchland. Some reductive strategies in cognitive neurobiology. In Boden.
- Paul Churchland. On the nature of theories: a neurocomputational perspective. In Haugeland.
- Patricia Churchland & Terrence Sejnowski. Neural representations and neural computation. In Lycan.
- William Ransey, Stephen Stich, & Joseph Garon. Connectionism, eliminativism, and the future of folk psychology. In Haugeland.

Connectionism: criticisms
- Jay Rosenberg. Connectionism and cognition. In Haugeland.
- Jerry Fodor & Zenon Pylyshyn. Connectionism and cognitive architecture: a critical analysis. In Haugeland.
- Andy Clark. The presence of a symbol. In Haugeland.

Dynamical systems
- Timothy van Gelder. What might cognition be, if not computation? In Lycan.
- Timothy van Gelder. Dynamics and cognition. In Haugeland.

Embodied cognition and situated robotics
- Rodney Brooks. Intelligence without representation.