PHI377 Philosophy of Psychology (Spring 2020)

Archive

Tuesday January 14

Topics to be covered: Basic course introduction.

Todo before class: Nothing.

Thursday January 16

Topics to be covered: We will start by going over the syllabus in detail. We will also start with some course material.

Todo before class: Assignment1 is due today in class.

Tuesday January 21

Topics to be covered: We will start by going through the notes that we did not get to last week. We will attempt to make relatively quick work of this. After this, we will talk about some of the issues brought up in answers to the last question on the assignment that is due today. If we finish all of that, we will start talking in a bit more detail about Cartesian Dualism.

Todo before class: Assignment2 is due today in class. Make sure to download the notes on Cartesian Dualism, and bring them with you to class.

Thursday January 23

Topics to be covered: Cartesian Dualism.

Todo before class: Nothing, but feel free to have a look at the Skinner reading, which will be required for next week.

Tuesday January 28

Topics to be covered: We may need to finish our discussion of Dualism, but will also move onto Behaviorism.

Todo before class: Assignment3 is due today. Read Skinner. This will not be an easy reading, for the reasons described on the assignment sheet. Do your best with it. In spite of the difficulty of the reading, it is worthwhile to get the perspective of one of the leading figures in the behaviorist program in psychology.

Thursday January 30

Topics to be covered: Behaviorism, and then the Skinner reading.

Todo before class: TBA, but feel free to start reading the Smart paper. Parts of this paper should be relatively easy to digest, but others are tricky and will take some work. Try not to let what you don’t understand in the paper overwhelm what you do.

Tuesday February 4

Topics to be covered: We will talk more about Behaviorism and the Skinner reading. If we finish this, which seems unlikely, we will will move on to Identity-Theory.

Todo before class: It is a good idea to have a look at the Smart reading. You will not need to complete any further assignments until I have given you some feedback on previous assignments, but hopefully that will happen today and the Smart assignment will be due next class.

Thursday February 6

Topics to be covered: Here is the agenda for this class: (i) Answer any questions about the material on Behaviorism that we have discussed thus far. (ii) Finish the problems facing Behaviorism. (iii) Talk about the excerpt from Skinner.

Todo before class: This is your chance to ask questions about Behaviorism. If you have any questions, write them down and bring them to class.

Tuesday February 11

Topics to be covered: We will start talking about Identity-Theory. If we get through the notes on the Identity-Theory, we will talk about the Smart paper.

Todo before class: Assignment4 is due today. This means that you need to read the Smart paper. This will not be an easy assignment, so don't leave it until the last minute. NOTE: there is a question about the Smart paper in the study questions that is not on the assignment. You might want to have a look at this question before you read the Smart paper, although our discussion in class of the Smart paper might help you answer this question.

Thursday February 13

Topics to be covered: TBA, but if we finish talking about Identity-Theory and the Smart paper, then we will move on to Functionalism.

Todo before class: There will not be any required readings on Functionalism, but there are some optional readings by Lewis and Putnam that you might find interesting. These are relatively early and now seminal discussions of Functionalism.

Tuesday February 18

Topics to be covered: We will finish talking about the Smart paper and move on to Functionalism.

Todo before class: There is no required reading or assignment for this week. It is HIGHLY recommended that you use the time to read the document about the exam and work on the study questions.

Thursday February 20

Topics to be covered: Functionalism.

Todo before class: Again, it is HIGHLY recommended that you spend some time looking at the document about the exam and working on the study questions.

Tuesday February 25

Topics to be covered: We will finish talking about Functionalism and move on to the Absent Qualia argument.

Todo before class: Assignment5 is due today.

Thursday February 27

Topics to be covered: We will finish the Absent Qualia argument and move on to Eliminative Materialism.

Todo before class: Nothing.

Tuesday March 3

Topics to be covered: We will finish talking about Churchland on Eliminativism and if there is any remaining time we will address any questions about material that will be covered on the upcoming exam.

Important note: You might have noticed there are no study questions about Functionalism on the Study Questions document! This was a mistake. Because I made a mistake and because I only caught it a few days before the exam, I am going to include questions about Functionalism on the exam in a way that doesn’t force you to answer any of those questions but gives you some incentive to do so. Further information is available here. I will also bring copies of this document to class and answer any questions about it.

Todo before class: Nothing.

Thursday March 5 - EXAM1

Please look at all of the documentation relevant to the exam on the documents page of this website.

Note that there is a take-home component of the exam. Information about this was handed out in class and is available on the "documents" page.

Tuesday March 10

Topics to be covered: While you need to come to class this day and I hope that you will participate in the discussion, the class will be a break in that there will not be any required readings and the material we talk about will not show up on the final exam. The topic will be a famous argument due to Frank Jackson called the Knowledge Argument.

Todo before class: Nothing. But, please note that the readings for the next few classes will be quite heavy. You might want to get ahead of the game by at least glancing at the upcoming assignments and readings.

Thursday March 12 (updated 03-11-2020)

Topics to be covered: We now need to cover two things today: (1) I will have some information about how the class will work after spring break, when we will go at least two weeks without meeting in person. (2) We will cover at least some material on Rationalism versus Empiricism and the Roots of Modern Psychology.

Todo before class:  It will  be helpful if you have the excerpt from Descartes' Meditations that is posted on the "documents" page, although you do not need to read this in advance. Otherwise, you don't need to do anything to prepare for class.

March 16-20:  SPRING BREAK

*The schedule for the rest of the schedule is TBA. I will make information available as I figure it out.

March 20 - Final announcement

This course has now been transitioned to Blackboard. This website will no longer be used or maintained.