HFIK03741U CANCELLED FILO, Module 5/ Module 8: Consciousness naturalized

Volume 2016/2017

Master in Philosophy, 2014-curriculum


The naturalistic approach becomes more and more widespread in philosophy. Briefly presented naturalism denotes the position that philosophical problems have to be construed in the light of our best scientific theories and have to be examined by the same methods that science makes available to us. Many naturalists will also add that everything in the world should be understood as a product of nature itself. There is no reality that cannot be given a materialistic or physicalistic description. Naturalism is therefore characterized by the rejection of the usefulness of transcendental arguments, while naturalists may still disagree about whether or not a priori arguments are naturalistic acceptable.

Based on such a naturalistic view, the course will look into the suggestion that the mind as a natural phenomenon can fully be described in physicalist terms. Important assumptions behind the naturalistic approach to the mind are available in the form of two scientific assumptions. First, the human mind is the result of a long biological evolution, which is formed through variation, selection, and adaptation. The second assumption is that neuroscience is gradually able to couple very specific mental activities with different activity patterns in the brain. Therefore the naturalistic approach raises serious questions about the possible explanations of alleged phenomena of the mind such as qualia, consciousness, free will and intentionality on a physicalistic basis. During the course we will see how far naturalists can overcome the so-called explanatory gap between what scientists may observe and what our experiences are like.  

Learning Outcome

The Master’s Programme in Philosophy 2014:
Module 5, Optional Subject 1: HFIK03741E
Module 8, Dissemination of Philosophy: HFIK03781E

The course will be read texts by Thomas Nagel, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson, Paul and Patricia Chuchland, Daniel Dennett, Fred Dretske, Gerald Edelman and others. The basic textbook will be Fred Dretskes Naturalizing the Mind (1995)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 367,5
  • Total
  • 409,5