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PHIL333 Philosophy of Mind and Language

The foundation and development of modern philosophy of mind and language in the second half of the twentieth century, and the radical effects these developments have had on modern analytic philosophy.

This paper is in two halves. The Mind half looks at solutions to the mind-body problem, ranging from theories that see the mind as something immaterial, to theories that attempt to account for the mental within a physicalist view of the world. We also look at artificial intelligence, and various features of our mental lives, such as the nature of perception and mental imagery, and our belief that we have free will. The Language half of the paper looks at a number of themes concerning linguistic meaning and mental content, including classic works by W.V.O. Quine, H.P. Grice and Saul Kripke.

Paper title Philosophy of Mind and Language
Paper code PHIL333
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $929.55
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Prerequisite
One 200-level PHIL paper
Restriction
PHIL 224 PHIL 233, PHIL 302, PHIL 306, PHIL 324
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Contact

heather.dyke@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Course co-ordinator: Associate Professor Heather Dyke

Lecturers:

Paper Structure
The first half of the paper covers key questions, concepts and theories in the philosophy of mind, including:
  • Dualism
  • Materialism
  • Functionalism
  • Intentionality
  • The nature of consciousness and qualia
The second half of the paper looks at a number of themes concerning linguistic meaning and mental content, including:
  • W.V.O. Quine's famous arguments concerning the indeterminacy of translation
  • H. P. Grice's attempt to account for the notion of linguistic meaning via the notion of speakers' communicative intentions
  • Saul Kripke's exploration (in his Naming and Necessity) of connections between the philosophy of language and mind and issues in metaphysics concerning necessity and contingency
Teaching Arrangements

Two classes per week; a two hour lecture and a one hour lecture.

The classes mix more formal lecture components with less formal seminar components.

Textbooks

Peter Mandik, This is Philosophy of Mind: An introduction (Wiley-Blackwell 2014)
Alexander Miller, Philosophy of Language (3rd edition 2018)

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

In the first half of the paper students will have:

  • Understanding of, and skilled response to, the main arguments for and against standard versions of dualism, materialism and functionalism, to be demonstrated in a research essay or exam answers
  • Understanding of, and skilled response to, other topics, including intentionality, consciousness and qualia, to be demonstrated in a research essay or exam answers
  • Engagement with PHIL 233/333, demonstrated in written work through engagement with lecture handouts

In the second half the paper students will have:

  • Understanding of, and skilled response to, Quine's argument from below for indeterminacy of translation, to be determined in a research essay
  • Understanding of, and skilled response to, other topics (including Quine's argument from above, Grice's account of meaning and alternatives, Kripke on Naming and Necessity), to be shown in exam answers
  • Engagement with PHIL 233/333, demonstrated in written work through engagement with lecture handouts

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Timetable

Semester 1

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Monday 14:00-15:50 9-15, 18-22
Wednesday 15:00-15:50 9-15, 17-22