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CONS ZG511: Philosophy

General Information

Time: M & W 11:00-12:00 pm and F: 3:00-4:00 pm
Venue: Room No.207
Instructor: Prof. Ramakant Sinari, Ph.D.

Course Description

A sound background in analytical philosophy and philosophy of science is imperative for students to be successful in consciousness studies. This course will introduce basic philosophical issues in epistemology, ontology, and metaphysics and assign relevant reading material from the seminal works of principal Western philosophers. A variety of schools such as materialism, physicalism, behaviorism, dualism, pan-psychism, and phenomenology will also be discussed. A basic introduction to philosophy of physics, philosophy of chemistry, philosophy of biology, and neurophilosophy will be given. The students will use the acquired philosophical knowledge to learn and discuss the main issues in consciousness studies including: the neural correlates of consciousness; the binding problem; ‘the problem of Mary’s knowledge’; the symbol grounding problem; eliminative and non-eliminative strategies to explain the mind; the computational view of brain and Searle’s Chinese room counter-argument; causality (starting with Hume); theories of perception (starting with Kant); semantics and meaning.

Grading Scheme

Evaluation Component

Maximum percentage

Test I

10%

Class-room Paper Presentations

10%

Midterm Examination

20%

Home Assignment / Project

20%

Final Comprehensive Examination

40%

Number of Class-room Hours: 45

  • Lectures: 37
  • Class-room discussions of research papers & tests: 8

(Many class-room hours being of 90 minute duration, discussion on many topics will be accommodated in these class-room hours)

REFERENCES:

File of the photocopied material distributed to students contains the following papers:

  • 17 papers from Ned Block, Owen Flanagan and Guven Guzeldere (Ed.): The Nature of Consciousness – Philosophical Debates, MIT Press, 1997
  • 6 papers from Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett (Ed.): The Mind’s I, Penguin Books, 1981
  • 10 papers from Thomas Metzinger (Ed.): Conscious Experience, Imprint Academic, 1995

Ancilliary books

  • Karl Popper and John Eccles: The Self and Its Brain, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983.
  • D.M. Armstrong: A Materialist Theory of the Mind, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968.
  • Daniel Dennett: Consciousness Explained, Little Brown, 1991.
  • Colin McGinn: The Problem of Consciousness, Oxford, 1991.
  • David Chalmers: The Conscious Mind: In Search of Fundamental Theory, Oxford, 1996.
  • David Rosenthal (Ed.): The Nature of Mind, Oxford, 1997.
  • Owen Flanagan: Consciousness Reconsidered, MIT Press, 1992.
  • Roger Penrose: Shadows of the Mind, Oxford, 1994.
  • John Searle: The Mystery of Consiousness, NYREW, 1997.
  • John Searle: “Do We Understand Consciouness?” Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5, Nos. 5-6, 1998.
  • Michael Tye: “Precis of Ten Problems of Consciousness” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LVIII, No.3, 1998.

Modules (date-wise)

Sr. No.

Dates

Tittle of the Paper

No. of Lectures

1

8 Sept

William James: ‘The stream of consciouness’

1

2

10 Sept

Daniel Dennett: ‘The cartesian theatre and ‘Filling In’ the stream of consciousness’

1

3

13 Sept

Owen Flanagan: ‘The Robust phenomenology of the stream of consciousness’

1

4

15 Sept

Patricia Smith Churchland: ‘Can Neurobiology Teach Us Anything about Consciousness?’

1

5

17 Sept

Francis Crick and Christof Koch: ‘Towards a Neurobiological Theory of Consciousness’

1

6

20 Sept

A.M. Turing: ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’

1

7

22 Sept

Douglas Hofstadter: ‘The Turing Test A Coffeehouse Conversation’

1

8

24 Sep

John R. Searle: 'Minds, Brain and Programs'

1

9

27 Sept

Thomas Nagel: ‘What is it like to be a bat?’

1

10

29 Sept

John R. Searle: ‘Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness’

1

11

1 Oct

John R. Searle: ‘Breaking the Hold: Silicon Brains, Conscious Robots, and other Minds’

1

12

4 Oct

Colin McGinn: ‘Consciousness and space’

1

13

6 Oct

Colin McGinn: ‘Consciousness and content’

1

14

8 Oct

Colin McGinn: ‘Can We Solve the Mind-body problem?’

1

15

11 Oct

Ned Block: ‘Begging th Question Against phenomenal consciousness’

1

16

13 Oct

Test 1

 

17

15 Oct

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

18

18 Oct

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

19

20 Oct

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

20

22 Oct

Tyler Burge: ‘Two kinds of Consciousness’

1

21

25 Oct

Robert Van Gulick: ‘Understanding the phenomenal kind : Are we all just Armadillos?’The absent qualia argument’

1

22

27 Oct

Daniel Dennet: ‘Quining qualia’

1

23

29 Oct

Frank Jackson: ‘What Mary did’t know’

1

24

1 Nov

Paul M. Churchland: ‘Knowing Qualia: A reply to Jackson’

1

25

2 Nov

Martine Nida-Rumelin: ‘What mary couldn’t know: Belief about phenomenal states’

1

26

5 Nov

Guven Guzelere: ‘Is consciousness the perception of what passes in one’s own mind?’

1

27

8 Nov

Thomas Metzinger: ‘The problem of consciousness’

1

28

10 Nov

Peter Bieri: ‘Why Is consciousness puzzling?’

1

29

12 Nov

Fred Dretske: ‘Consciousness Experience’

1

30

15 Nov

Midterm Examination

 

31

17 Nov

Joseph Levine: ‘Qualia Intrinsic, Relational or what?’

1

32

19 Nov

David J. Chalmers: ‘Absent qualia, Fading qualia, Dancing qualia’

1

33

22 Nov

Robert Kirk: ‘How is consciousness possible?’

1

34

24 Nov

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

35

26 Nov

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

36

29 Nov

Presentation of papers by students and discussion on them

1

37

1 Dec

Thomas Metzinger: ‘Faster than thought: Holism, Homogeneity and temporal coding’

1

38

3 Dec

Daniel Dennet: ‘Where am I?’

1

39

6 Dec

David Hawley Sanford: ‘Where was I?’

1

40

8 Dec

Daniel Dennet: ‘Cog: Steps towards consciousness in Robots’

1

41

10 Dec

Dieter Birnbacher: ‘Artificial consciousness’

1

42

13 Dec

John Searle: ‘The Mystery of Consiousness’

1

43

15 Dec

John Searle: ‘The Mystery of Consiousness’

1

44

17 Dec

Karl Popper’s Concept of “World 3”(Ref: Karl Popper & John Eccles: The Self and its Brain)

1

45

20 Dec

Karl Popper’s Concept of World3” (Ref: Karl Popper & John Eccles: The Self and its Brain)

1

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