The Elusive Self: On Mind, Brain, and Consciousness.
No concept is more central to our lives than the notion of "I." We could not navigate the world if we lacked a fundamental sense of self-hood. Yet, for philosophers and psychologists alike, this commonplace idea has been the starting point for much speculation, research, and wonder. This course explores various dimensions of what we call the self from both psychological and philosophical perspectives. We begin with questions on the nature of consciousness, with special emphasis on the relationship between the mind and the brain. We then explore issues related to personal identity, self-awareness, and memory. We next consider the prospects for consciousness and self-hood in non-human animals and machines. Finally, we reckon with the self's ultimate limitation, death.
Course will be offered every two years, in the fall semester.
In a seminar setting, a discussion of preselected philosophical issues or important texts (seminar topics change from year to year). Required of all philosophy majors and minors, but open to any student who had a previous philosophy course and who has obtained the permission of the Philosophy Department.