Introduction to Philosophy of Mind 2-IKV-114

The main course objective is to provide students with an introduction to some of main topics in philosophy of mind. Students acquire knowledge of representative philosophical conceptions, theories and questions concerning the nature of human mind, such as: What is mind? What is the nature of consciousness and self? Is a scientific theory of conscious experience possible? Can we explain the subjective character of our inner lives? Students will also be acquainted with a variety of methods (theoretical, empirical, experimental) and main arguments, types of argumentation on selected problems, such as: mind/body problem, nature of self, mental causation, intentionality, subjectivity, reductionism, free will. Lectures are combined with text seminars in order to improve students´capacity to analyse critically and comment on original texts as well as to report on and defend their own opinions.

Course information sheet >

Course schedule

Type Day Time Room Lecturer
Lecture 2 / Seminar 1 Monday 9:50 - 12:20 online prof. PhDr. Silvia Tomášková, PhD.


Date Topic References
14.2. Introduction to course (terminology, main problems)
21.2. Dualism (Descartes), criticism (Hobbes, Spinoza) ♦ Descartes R. (1641): Meditations on First Philosophy. Meditation I, II.

♦ Ryle G. (1949): Descarte's Myth. In: The Concept of Mind. Chapter I. “Descartes Myth”. ♦ Churchland P. (1988): Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Ch. 2 pp. 7-22.

28.2. Behaviorism, arguments pro/contra, types of behaviorism. ♦ Watson J. (1913): “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It”. Psychological Review, 20:158-77

♦ Churchland P. (1988): Matter and Consciousness, pp. 23-25

07.3. Identity theories (token, type) ♦ Smart J. (1959): “Sensations and Brain Processes”. The Philosophical Review, 68(2): 141-156.

♦ Place U.T. (1956): „Is consciousness a brain process?“ British Journal of Psychology, 47:44-50.

14.3. Functionalism (thought experiments) ♦ Putnam H. (1975): “The Nature of Mental States”. Mind, Language and Reality, Cambridge University Press.

♦ Turing A. (1950): “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”. In: Mind, New Series, 59(236), pp. 433-460. ♦ Searle J. (1980): “Minds, Brains, and Programs”. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 3:417-24.

21.3. Folk psychology (Churchland, Dennett) ♦Churchland P. (1988) : “Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes”. Matter and Consciousness, 43-49.

♦ Dennett D. (1987): “True Believers”, In: The Intentional Stance, MIT Press, 14-35.

28.3. The problem of consciousness (how to write a philosophy paper) ♦ Chalmers D. (1995): „Facing up to the problem of consciousness“. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2(3), 200-219.

♦ Noë A., Thompson E. (2004): Are There Neural Correlates of Consciousness? Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol.11, No 1.

04.4. Naturalism versa irreducibilty of consciousness. ♦ Jackson, F. (1982): Epiphenomenal Qualia. In: Philosophical Quarterly, 32, 127–136.

♦ Nagel, T. (1974): What it is Like to be a Bat? In: Philosophical Review, 83, 435–450.

11.4. The problem of free will (experimental research) ♦Weiskrantz L. (1989): “Some contributions of neuropsychology of vision and memory to the problem of consciousness”,

♦ Libet, B. (1999): Do We Have Free Will? In: Journal of Consciousness Studies , 6, No. 8–9, 47–57.

25.4. Mind and consciousness in trouble (case studies) ♦ Sacks O. (1985): The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.
02.5. The problem of self and personal identity ♦ Locke J. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 2, Chapter 27, “Identity and diversity”, 112-121.

♦ Hume D.: Treatise of Human Nature, Book 1, Part 4, Chap. 6, “Personal Identity”, 132-141.

09.5. Summary - discussion on the nature of mind, a philosophical or/and scientific problem ♦ Metzinger T. (2009): The Ego-tunnel.

Course grading

  • Active participation at lectures/seminars, introductory presentations of seminar texts, analysis of texts (20 points)
  • Final exam: written final paper (80 points) on selected topic (see syllabus) – 14 400 characters (8 pages)
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