Instructor: Dr. Michael Johnson
Office Hours: Thursdays 3-4pm
Email: micjohns [at] hku [dot] hk
Course Website: You’re here!
Meeting Times: Mondays 3:30-5:20
Location: CPD 3.01
This course is an introduction to some of the central issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language. In particular, we will be concerned with questions like: What is the relation between the mind and the brain? What do mental states like beliefs represent? How do these states represent? What’s the relation between mental representation and representation in language? Finally, we will consider various radical positions such as, for example, that beliefs don’t exist, or that meanings don’t exist.
In-class presentation: 30%
Rough-draft paper: 20%
Seminar paper: 40%
Details of the in-class presentation can be found here.
Details of the rough-draft/ seminar paper can be found here.
Policy on Late Assignments
Students are required to read and understand the university’s policy on plagiarism and cheating. Here are some passages worth emphasizing from the guide:
“[P]lagiarism is copying the work of another person without proper acknowledgement.”
“The best approach is of course not to copy at all.”
“This University takes plagiarism seriously. Academically, it is almost certain that the plagiarized work will receive a fail grade (and most likely a zero mark). There may also be disciplinary action against the student who commits the offence of plagiarism.”
Please read the full guide for details.
PM = Ian Ravenscroft, Philosophy of Mind: A Beginner’s Guide
PL = William Lycan, Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction (2nd Edition)
14 September: The Idea Theory
Powerpoint slides: here
Primary Reading: John Locke, Book III Chapters i-iv, ix-xi, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
Primary Reading: Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Sections 1-33
(Note: skip Berkeley’s long introduction)
21 September: The Verificationist Theory of Meaning
Powerpoint slides: here
Primary Reading: Hempel, “Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning”
Background: PL, Chapter 8
28 September: GENERAL HOLIDAY – NO CLASS
12 October: READING WEEK – NO CLASS
9 November: The Use Theory of Meaning
Michael’s slides here
Primary Reading: Horwich, Ch. 3 of Meaning, “Meaning as Use”
(read at least the first 11 pages– to p. 51– and more if you like)
Background: PL, Chapter 6
30 November: Eliminativism and Deflationism
Primary Reading: Stich, “Autonomous Psychology and the Belief-Desire Thesis”
Supplementary Reading: Field, “Deflationist Views of Meaning and Content”
Background: PM, Chapter 5
Last day’s slides here