Philosophy 156: Philosophy of Mind, Spring 2001

Prof. Siegel

Class meets MW 11am in Sever 306. Section: TBA

In this course, we will study some of the central philosophical texts written in the last 50 years on the relation between the mental and the physical. We will spend the first two-thirds of the course discussing four views on this relation: substance dualism; behaviorism; type-identity theories; and functionalism. The last two views developed in response to behaviorism. One of the main results of this development has been the widespread acceptance of physicalism, the doctrine that everything in the world is ultimately physical. In the last third of the course, we will consider these topics: whether mental contents depend on what is outside the head; the causal efficacy of mental states; how to formulate the doctrine of physicalism; and (time permitting) the causal relevance of mental contents.

Required Texts

Rosenthal, ed. The Nature of Mind. Available at the Coop.

Course readings not in Rosenthal are on reserve in Robbins Library (see list below)

Optional: S. Guttenplan Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Available at Harvard Book Store, and on reserve at Robbins Library.


One course in philosophy, or a moral reasoning course taught by a member of the philosophy department, or permission of the instructor.

Course Requirements and Policies

Reading When reading these texts for the first time, what strikes you as salient will differ from what strikes other students as salient, and it will differ from what gets discussed in lecture. This is normal. Do not take it as invitation to let the lectures be your only connection to the text. Keep reading! The readings are difficult, so plan on reading each article more than once. A good strategy is to read each text before the lecture on it, and again--once or twice--afterward.

Attendance There will be material presented in lecture that is not in the reading, and you will be responsible for knowing it. For this reason, it is crucial to attend the lectures. In addition, one of the best ways to engage the topics we'll be studying is through conversation with others who are reading and thinking about the same texts. For this reason, you are required to attend section.

Written work There will be two 5-page papers and a final exam. I encourage you to read Prof. Pryor's Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper, at You may substitute for the final exam a 10 page final paper, to be written in two drafts. Both drafts will be graded; the final grade will be the average of the two. If you choose to write a final paper, you should decide by mid-April at the latest what its topic will be. Topics will be handed out in class.

Rewrites The first paper may be rewritten once for a higher grade. Rewrites are due one week from the day on which the original draft is handed back.

Lateness Late papers won't be accepted unless arrangements have been made beforehand. So if you are going to hand in a paper late, you need to alert the TF or instructor that this is the case, explain the reason for the lateness, and say when you expect to hand in the paper. Papers will be docked 1/3rd of a grade for each day they are late.

Grades will be determined as follows:

Paper 1: 30% (Due Wednesday, March 7)

Paper 2: 30% (Due Wednesday, April 18)

Final (paper or exam): 30% (Date: TBA).

First draft of (optional) final paper due: Monday, April 30. Final paper due at the exam, date TBA.

Section participation: 10%

You cannot pass the course without doing all of the written work.

Grads Graduate students in philosophy who take the course will attend a separate discussion section, and will be assigned additional reading, as well as a 15-20 page term paper in lieu of the final exam. First draft of final paper due: Monday, April 30. Final draft (for grads): Monday, May 21.

Schedule of readings (All texts are on reserve at Robbins library; texts marked with an asterisk (*) are not in Rosenthal's anthology).

W Jan. 31 Introduction

The Mind-Body Problem

M Feb 5 - W Feb 7 R. Descartes, from Meditations and Replies

M Feb 12 - W Feb 14 B. Russell, "Analogy"

N. Malcolm "Knowledge of Other Minds"

Recommended: entries on Behaviorism and Identity Theory in Companion

J. J. C. Smart "Sensations and Brain Processes"

W Feb 21 Smart, continued

M Feb 27 - W Feb 29 S. Kripke, from Naming and Necessity

D. Armstrong, "The Causal Theory of Mind"

M Mar 5 - W Mar 7 H. Putnam "The Nature of Mental States"

D. Lewis, "Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications"

S. Shoemaker, "Some Varieties of Functionalism"*

Recommended: entry on Functionalism in Companion

Paper 1 due in lecture, Wednesday, March 7

M Mar 12 - W Mar 14 Shoemaker, continued

D. Lewis "Mad Pain and Martian Pain"

M Mar 19 - W Mar 21 N. Block, "Troubles with Functionalism"

Externalism about content

M Apr 2 - W Apr 4 H. Putnam, "Meaning and Reference"*

T. Burge "Individualism and the Mental"

Mental Causation

M Apr 9 - W Apr 11 J. Kim, Philosophy of Mind, chapter 6*

D. Davidson, "Mental Events"

Recommended: entry on Physicalism (1) and Physicalism (2) in Companion

Supervenience and Physicalism

M Apr 16 - W Apr 18 T. Horgan, "From Supervenience to Superdupervenience: Meeting the Demands of a Material World"*

Recommended: Wilson, "How Superduper does a Physicalist Supervenience Need to Be?"

Paper 2 due in lecture, Wednesday, April 18

M Apr 23 - W Apr 25 S. Shoemaker, "Realization and Mental Causation"*

Content and Causation (time permitting--we may need this time to wrap up discussion of previous topics).

M Apr 30 - W May 2 F. Dretske, "Mental Events and Structuring Causes of


First draft of [optional] final paper due Monday, April 30

Final draft due at the final exam (Date TBA)

Articles on reserve at Robbins Library

S. Shoemaker, "Some Varieties of Functionalism", from Identity, Cause and Mind New

York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984

H. Putnam, "Meaning and Reference," a shortened version of "The Meaning of 'Meaning'"

Excerpt is in Martinich, ed., Philosophy of Language, Third Edition. New York: Oxford. 1996.

T. Horgan, "From Supervenience to Superdupervenience", Mind 102, October 1993.

S. Shoemaker, "Realization and Mental Causation" Manuscript.

J. Wilson, "How Superduper does a Physicalist Supervenience Need to Be?" Philosophical

Quarterly vo. 49, January 1999.

F. Dretske, "Mental Events and Structuring Causes of Behavior", in Mental Causation eds.

J. Heil and A. Mele, Oxford: Clarendon. 1993.