PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course presents a survey of the major positions of the contemporary debate on the philosophy of perception and of the main theoretical options there are for future research.
2-Applying Knowledge and understanding
Students will be trained to recognize, reformulate, and criticize arguments with the goal to acquire the skills necessary for doing philosophical research.
3-4-5 Making judgments, communication and learning skills
Students are invited to prepare the texts autonomously so as to be able to present the main arguments in short presentations in class. Guidance during their preparing and writing the term paper will allow them to develop the skills necessary to participate autonomously in the philosophical debate and to learn and enlarge their knowledge in an autonomous way.
Course contents summary
The course will focus on the questions that are relevant in the current debate in philosophy of mind. What is the self? What is the nature of rule-following? What is the relation between language and thought? What is the relation between mind and environment?
Fred Dretske: "Sensation and Perception", in: Knowledge and the Flow of Information, Oxford: Blackwell 1981.
Zoe Drayson: "The Personal/Sub-personal Distinction" in: Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014): 338–346, 10.1111/phc3.12124
John Haugeland: "Objective Perception" in: Having Thought, Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998, pp.241-265.
John McDowell: ""The Content of Perceptual Experience", in: The Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1994), pp. 190-205.
Katherine Nelson "«Concept» is a useful concept in Development Research" in: Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 2011, Vol. 31, No. 2, 96–101
Howard Robinson: "The Traditional Argument for the Empiricist Conception of Sense-Contents: the Argument from Illusion", in: Perception, Oxon/New York: Routledge, 1994 (chapter II, pp. 31–58.
Joseph Rouse: "What is conceptually articulated understanding" in: Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World. The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate. Ed. by Joseph Shear, London & New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 250-271.
Susanna Schellenberg "A trilemma about mental content", in: Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World. The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate. Ed. by Joseph Shear, London & New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 272-282.
Sonia Sedivy: "Starting afresh Disjunctively", in: Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge, ed. by Adrian Haddock and Fiona McPherson. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008, pp. 348–375.
Wilfrid Sellars: Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1997, pp. 68–79 (§§ 10–38).
Michael Tye: "Nonconceptual content richness and finness of grain" in: Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge, ed. by Adrian Haddock and Fiona McPherson. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008, pp. 504-530.
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations, §§ 243-315.
During the meetings we will analyse a series of texts. There will be ample room for discussing the various aspects that emerge from the texts. The success of the course will depend essentially on the students’ active participation in discussion and they are encouraged to share their interests, doubts, and perplexities with the others. Students who are not able to assist the meetings in class will be able to follow the course via internet (http://moodle.filosofia.edunova.it/2016/).
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists in writing a short term-paper (10-12 pages ca.) in which the student shows their competences in formulating and discussing in an argumentative way a specific philosophical problem (in the field of the philosophy of perception), to reconstruct and contrast relevant arguments that have bee proposed by the philosophers discussed in class with the goal to draft a text that is informative for a non-expert reader. Students are invited to pay attention to the own expressive tools, to the coherent use of technical terminology, the cogency of the argument and a concise style.
The oral part of the exam consists in a discussion of the term paper.
30 e lode: excellent, profound knowledge, excellent expressive capacities, complete comprehension of the relevant concepts and arguments
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, good discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
27-29: good, an acceptable degree of knowledge, acceptable discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
24-26: mediocre level of knowledge, though incomplete and not not always correct.
21-23: basic, though superficial knowledge. Inadequate discursive competences with respect to the topic of the course.
Below 18: insufficient. Very imcomplete knowledge, presentation unclear, incomplete comprehension of the basic concepts and arguments.
The lectures of the course will be given in English, but students are free to ask questions or contribute to discussion in Italian. (Students who do not have sufficient knowledge of English can determine, together with the instructor, an alternative program for the exam -- in analogy to students who are not able to frequent classes)