Philosophical debates surrounding the nature of the human mind have traditionally focused on the possibility of a genuinely spiritual self existing in a material world. New technologies and popular culture have added the question of whether machines will ever really think, and whether perhaps you might even somehow become a digitized person. However, despite amazing advances in information technology over the last half-century, the fundamental philosophical questions about the nature of the mind call these possibilities into question, no matter how fast and far our technology develops. This course is a survey of philosophical discussions surrounding the fundamental nature of the mind, with an eye towards A.I. and virtual embodiment. Topics covered will include historical foundations, behaviorism, functionalism, mental causation and the mind-body problem, the reducibility of consciousness and qualia, theories of intentional content, machine intelligence, realism vs. eliminativism, and personal identity.
TEXT: Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, David J. Chalmers.