Philosophy of Mind: Consciousness (0122-362-01)

Spring 2002

Class: T/Th, 9:45-11:00am, LM 268
Office: Campion D6 (right by the Philosophy Department)
Office Hours: Thurs, 1:30-3p and by arrangement
Office Phone: 422-6424 (422-6543 for the department)

The class is finished.  Thanks for a great class, and have a good summer.  If you would like to meet with me during the finals week (Mon 5/13-16) for your final paper, send me a message, or, there is a sign-up sheet on my office door (for another class) and you can just sign in.

Short Paper on Phenomenology (Due Fri 5/3)

Final Paper Topics (Due Thurs 5/16)

Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference in Arizona:


Course Description:

One of the most challenging, exciting, and rapidly developing field today is the discipline of “consciousness studies.”  This is largely an interdisciplinary field, involving science, medicine, psychology, and philosophy.  In this course, we will examine philosophy’s contribution to this field, by a critical analysis on the philosophical meaning of “consciousness.”  The course will focus on both historical and contemporary literature on consciousness, from the classical mind-body dualism to its contemporary manifestations,  to the recent debates concerning the “hard problem” of consciousness, the “first-person perspective” on consciousness, to the various reductionist theories, classical phenomenology, and the newly emerging field of “neurophenomenology.”

Learning Outcomes:

The students who complete the course will be able to distinguish various contemporary theories of consciousness (in what way do they conflict, are similar, etc) and identify some of the key issues in the debates.


1.  The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates.  Ned Block, Owen Flannagan, and Guven Guzeldere, eds.  MIT Press.  1997.
2.  Introduction to Phenomenology.  Robert Sokolowski.  Cambridge University Press. 2000.

Course Requirements:

1.  Mid-semester Paper (4-5pages, 25%):  A list of possible topics will be handed out by Week 6.
2.  Final Paper (8-10 pages, 30%):  A list of possible topics will be handed out by Week 14.
3.  Research Paper (8-10 pages, 30%):  To do this paper, you will “focus” on a particular section from the book and go into a bit more depth, by analyzing several articles.
4.  Participation and Discussion (15%)

 Course Schedule:

Week 1 (Jan 22, 24) Overview.  What just IS consciousness? What are the debates?  The mind-body problem revisited.
Week 2 (Jan 29, 31) Intro: Guzeldere, The Many Faces of Consciousness, pp 1-67
Week 3 (Feb 5, 7) Above continued; Phenomenology--Sokolowski, 1-21
Week 4 (Feb 12, 14) Selection 1. James, pp 71-82; 3. Flanagan, pp 89-93
Week 5 (Feb 19,21)  4. Flanagan, pp 97-110; 6. Churchland, pp 127-140
Week 6 (Feb 26, 28) 10. Baars, pp 187-202; 14. Crick and Koch, pp 277-292
Week 7 (Mar 5, 7)  20. Block, pp. 375-416
Week 8:  (Mar 12, 14) 27. Searle, pp 451-460; 30 Searle, pp 493-502   Mid-Semester Paper Due
Week 9 (Mar 19, 21) 32. Nagel, pp 519-528; 34 Levine pp 543-555
Week 10: Spring Break
Week 11 (April 2, 4) Speaker Dan Zahavi on April 2; Chalmers handout
Week 12 (April 9, 11) Phenomenology—Sokolowski 22-65
Week 13 (Apr 16, 18) Phenomenology—Sokolowski 112-129, 146-155
Week 14 (Apr 23, 25) Neurophenomenology--handout
Week 15 (Apr 30, May 2) Neurophenomenology continued  Research Paper Due
Week 16 (May 7): Summary

Final paper is due on Thursday, May 16, 4pm.

Policy on Attendance, Turning in your papers, etc.:

You are expected to attend every class, as participation is weighed heavily.  I will accept VALID excuses (medical emergency, or other events which are totally beyond your control).  It is your responsibility to contact me if you must miss class.

Please note that “turning in the paper” means that I receive it; it does NOT mean that you dropped it off.  When in doubt, you must make sure with me that I actually have your material.  Please be sure to keep a copy of your paper.

If you must drop the course, it is your responsibility to take care of the paperwork and to contact me.  If you stop coming and your name appears on the roster at the end of the course, you will receive an F (not my choice, but if your name appears on the final grading sheet, I have to assign a grade).  An “I” grade can be given only for a missed FINAL.  It must be arranged with me beforehand.

Feel free to talk to me about any concerns you may have about the course.  I am always interested in what you have to say.

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