CONS ZG512: Philosophy — Advanced Topics

This course is meant to develop and test the ability of the student to critically read advanced research papers in the field of philosophy. A wide variety of recent papers dealing with the philosophical issues underlying the field of consciousness studies will be taken up for reading. Topics to be covered will include physicalism and the causal basis of the neural correlates of consciousness, the problem of coinciding objects, issues in scientific realism, philosophy of physics, philosophy of chemistry and philosophy of mathematics.

General Information

Instructors: Prof. Ravi Gomatam, Ph.D.; Greg Anderson, M.S.

Evaluation components will include written critical summaries of each paper read and a final comprehensive examination.

Evaluation Components:

EC 1-10: Written summaries of papers... 60 marks
EC 11: Comprehensive Exam... 40 marks

Date of Comprehensive Exam: May 26.

We will study and discuss the following papers:

  • Harnad, S. (2000), “Correlation vs. Causality: How/Why the Mind-Body Problem is Hard”, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7(4): 54-61.
  • Gomatam, R. (2005), “Do Hodgson’s Propositions Uniquely Characterize Free Will?”, Invited commentary on a target paper, "A Plain Person's View of Free Will" by David Hodgson, Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol 12(1), p. 32-40.
  • Bogen, J. (2001), “Functional Imaging Evidence” in Theory and Method in the Neurosciences (eds P.K. Machamer, R. Grush, P. McLaughlin), University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, p. 173-199.
  • Thomson, J. (1998), “The Statue and the Clay”, Nous, 32(2):149-173.
  • Psarros, N. (2001), “Things, stuffs and coincidence—A non-ontological point of view”, Hyle-International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, vol 7(1): 23-29.
  • Collins, A. (1998), “On the Question, ‘Do Numbers Exist?”, The Philosophical Quarterly, 48(190): 23-36.
  • Worrall, J. (1989) “Structualism Realism: The Best of Both World’s”, Dialectica, 43(1-2): 99-124.
  • Gomatam, R. (1998), "Einstein's Conception of Scientific Realism", Chap. 5, Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Philosophy, Bombay University.
  • van Brakel, J. (2000), “The Alleged Reduction of Chemistry to Physics”, Chapter 5 of Philosophy of Chemistry, Leuven U.P.: Leuven, Belgium.
  • Psillos, S. (2002), "Hume on Causation", Chapter One of Causation and Explanation, McGill-Queen's Universitry Press: Ithaca.