Phil 158a. Proseminar in Mind, Brain and Behavior. Fall 2003. M 1-3.

Professor Susanna Siegel. Office: Emerson 317. ssiegel@fas.harvard.edu

 

An examination of questions at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, with special attention to conscious experience in perception. Many of the questions we will consider arise from the framework of propositional attitudes often used to categorize mental phenomena. This framework is a structure of attitude and content. A content is something that can be true or false, such as the winner of the lottery will share the wealth. One can take different attitudes toward this content, such as belief and hope. To what extent does this framework help us understand perceptual experience? What are the attitudes that pertain to perception, and what are the contents? We will also discuss recent debates concerning how the scientific study of consciousness should proceed.

 

Course Requirements

Two 4-5 page papers (double-spaced), and either a 10 page term paper (double-spaced) or a take-home exam of about the same length. 

 

Schedule of topics and readings (These will be available for photocopying in Robbins)

 

Background: J. Fodor, The Modularity of Mind, MIT Press, 1983.

 

     Sept. 15      Introduction

 

  1. Perception and belief. To what extent is conscious perceptual experience structured by attitude and content? What, if anything, are perceptual attitudes? In what ways is perception like belief, and in what ways does it differ?

 

Sept. 22     A.D. Smith, The Problem of Perception, chapter 5. (HUP, 2002)

 

Sept. 29     K. O’Regan and A. Noe, “On the Brain-basis of Visual Consciousness: A Sensory-Motor Approach”, in Vision and Mind, ed. A. Noe and E. Thompson, MIT Press, 2002.

                  First short paper due in class

 

Oct. 6        D. Armstrong, A Materialist Theory of Mind, chapters 11 and 12. RKP, 1968.

 

  1. Schizophrenia and the experience of agency: What are thought-insertions and auditory hallucinations? What sorts of errors do they involve?

 

Oct. 20      John Campbell, “Schizophrenia, the Space of Reasons, and Thinking as a Motor Process,” The Monist, vol. 82, no. 4, 1999.

 

Oct. 27      Shaun Gallagher, “A Cognitive Model of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification”, in Exploring the Self, ed. D. Zahavi, J Benjamins, 2000

 

Recommended: James Pryor, “Immunity to Error through Misidentification”, Philosophical Topics 26, 1998, also at http://www.princeton.edu/~jimpryor/papers/.

 

  1. Delusional beliefs. To what extent can these be treated using the attitude-content framework? Are symptoms of Capgras syndrome (“my wife/husband has been replaced by an impostor”) most usefully considered beliefs or imaginations? How may the differences between these attitudes be discerned from a first-person perspective? What sort of contents might experiences associated with delusions have? How, if at all, does the debate between whether delusions are beliefs or imaginations impact on empirical inquiry?

 

Nov. 3       Brendan Maher, “Anomalous Experience and Everyday Life: Implications for Psycho-pathology”, The Monist vol. 82, 1999.

 

Nov.10      Martin Davies, Max Coltheart et al., “Monothematic Delusions: Towards a

Two-Factor Account”, in Philosophy, Psychology, Psychiatry vol. 8, 2002.

 

Nov. 17     John Campbell, “Rationality, Meaning, and the Analysis of Delusion”, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychiatry vol. 8, 2002.

                  Optional: Andrew Young, “Delusions”, The Monist  vol. 82, 1999.

 

Nov. 24     Gregory Currie and Ian Ravenscroft, ch. 8 of Recreative Minds

Gregory Currie and Jon Jureidini, “Delusion, Rationality, Empathy: Commentary on Davies et al.”, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychiatry vol. 8, 2002

Second short paper due

 

4.         The study of consciousness:  What is the relation between phenomenality and

access? How does the relation between phenomenality and access impact on the scientific study of consciousness? Is there a ‘hard’ problem of consciousness? If so, how might the study of consciousness proceed?

 

      Dec. 1        Ned Block, “Two Concepts of Consciousness”, Chalmers, ed. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, OUP 2002.

 

      Dec. 8        David Chalmers, “Facing up to the Problem of Consciousness”, in Explaining Consciousness, ed. J. Shear, MIT Press, 1998, and at http://www.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/papers.html

 

      Dec. 17      Daniel Dennett, “Who’s on First? Heterophenomenology Explained” or “The Fantasy of First-Person Science”, both at http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/pubpage.htm