I am on leave during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Self and Identity
What makes you the particular individual that you are? Your body? Your thoughts and memories? Your personality? Your actions and values? Your community? Are any of these necessary for remaining the same person over time? Could our notion of the self be an illusion? How is the concept of the self related to the idea that we are morally responsible agents? We will explore these questions, drawing on both historical and contemporary sources.
Nature of Mind
What is the mind? Is it part of physical reality, or something separate? Can science explain the nature of the mind? Is it possible for a properly programmed computer to have a mind? If the mind is completely physical, is it located entirely in the brain? Is the mind an essential part of the self? Can one remain the same person over time despite significant psychological changes? We will investigate these questions, and contrast philosophical approaches to them with the methods employed in empirical psychology.
History of Philosophy II
This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. We will focus on the works of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, examining their views about knowledge and the nature of reality. Particular attention will be paid to the relation between philosophy and the scientific revolution, the relation between mind and body, and knowledge of God, the self, and the external world.
Appearance and Reality
If appearances can be deceiving, how can we ever know if what we experience corresponds with reality? In this course we will investigate how perception might provide us with knowledge given the possibility of misleading appearances.