Understanding Life and Mind|
Fall 2020 not offered
Philosophical conceptions of mind and language are now typically "naturalistic" in the sense that they take these phenomena to be part of the natural world and understandable scientifically. Naturalistic conceptions of mindedness (and many of the sciences of mindedness) still mostly take their lead from a Cartesian tradition of understanding mindedness as an "internal" representation of an "external" world, now located in the brain or central nervous system rather than an immaterial soul. This advanced seminar instead explores the possible philosophical significance of recent developments in evolutionary and developmental biology for understanding mindedness. The course takes up four primary themes: organism/environment entanglement; relevant background from the recent emergence of an "extended evolutionary synthesis;" reconceptions of mindedness as ways organisms inhabit and respond to environments rather than as internal representations; and the evolution and development of language as a form of evolutionary niche construction that coevolves with human organisms and ways of life.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(SISP)(SISP-ScieDblMjr)
Derek Bickerton, MORE THAN NATURE NEEDS
plus selections from some of:
Robert Wilson, GENES AND THE AGENTS OF LIFE
Mark Okrent, NATURE AND NORMATIVITY
John Dupre, PROCESSES OF LIFE
Richard Lewontin, THE TRIPLE HELIX
Evan Thompson, MIND IN LIFE
K. Laland, J. Odling-Smee, and M. Feldman, NICHE CONSTRUCTION
M. Pigliucci and G. Muller, eds., THE EXTENDED SYNTHESIS
Sonia Sultan, ┐The Timely Emergence of Eco-Devo┐
S. Oyama, P. Griffiths, and P. Gray, eds., CYCLES OF CONTINGENCY
P. Griffiths and K. Sterelny, SEX AND DEATH
Kim Sterelny, THOUGHT IN A HOSTILE WORLD
Kathleen Akins, "Of Sensory Systems and the Aboutness of Mental States"
Frans de Waal, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?
Kevin Laland, DARWIN┐S UNFINISHED SYMPHONY
John Haugeland, "Mind Embodied and Embedded"
Alva Noe, OUT OF OUR HEADS
Tim Ingold, ┐People Like Us: The Concept of the Anatomically Modern Human┐
Elisabeth Lloyd, "Kanzi, Language, and Evolution"
Daniel Dor and Eva Jablonka, "From Cultural Selection to Genetic Selection"
Charles Taylor, THE LANGUAGE ANIMAL
J. Rouse, ┐Language, Social Practice, and Conceptual Normativity┐
Rebecca Kukla and Mark Lance, YO! AND LO!
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Assignments include a mid-term essay, periodic seminar presentations to initiate discussion, and a term paper.
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