Qualities

Course description These four lectures will talk about qualities. We will discuss the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, dispositional theories of colour, response-dependence concepts, the missing explanation argument, and a more simple view of colour or secondary qualities more generally. Suggested general reading Lawrence Nolan, ed. Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate (Oxford: OUP, 2011), pp. 136-157. (Introduction and chapters by Pasnau, Downing, and Ayers) Wright, Crispin (1988), ‘Moral Values, Projection and Secondary Qualities’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 26, 1-26.

Dualism and Functionalism

Course description These lectures will introduce the mind-body problem: the problem of the relation between mind and matter, or mind and body. We will consider the nature of mental life and physical processes, and the competing doctrines of dualism and materialism/physicalism. The nature of mind poses a dilemma for philosophy. If the mind is not physical, then how can it have effects in the physical world? But if the mind is physical, then how can we explain consciousness?

Verificationism

Course description What is the connection between the meaning of a sentence and its verification conditions? This series of four lectures will present the motivations and fate of the early-twentieth century verification theory of meaning. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading AYER, A.J., Language, Truth and Logic. 2nd ed. (London: Gollancz, 1946), Introduction & ch.

Conditionals

Course description These lectures will introduce the philosophical discussion about conditionals. For this, we need to ask what the relation is between the meaning of formal languages and the meaning of natural languages. Online resources Outlines and handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.github.io/teaching/2018cda/ Where and when Monday 3-4pm. Lecture Block Room 1. Lecture 1: Meaning and natural language This lecture will discuss Grice’s theory of sentence meaning and communicative intentions.

Mind-reading

Course description These lectures will introduce the problem of other minds and discuss the philosophical debate about mind-reading. Online resources Outlines and handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.github.io/teaching/2018mre/ Where and when Monday 1-2pm. Lecture Block Room 12. Lecture 1: Sympathy, empathy and the problem of other minds This lecture will introduce a history of thinking about empathy and the problem of other minds. A central argument in this discussion is the Argument from Analogy.

Induction and Causation

Course description These lectures will introduce the problems of induction and the metaphysics of causation (or causality, or cause and effect). Online resources Outlines and handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.github.io/teaching/2018inc/ Where and when Friday 10-11. Lecture Block Room 1. Lecture 1: Hume and the problem of induction In this lecture I introduce the idea of induction, and discuss David Hume’s problem of induction. (Download handout here) Lecture 2: Goodman’s new riddle of induction In this lecture I discuss Nelson Goodman’s ‘new riddle’ of induction, and will contrast it with the old riddle formulated by David Hume.

Necessity, Analyticity, A Priority

Course description This course will introduce several key distinctions: analytic / synthetic; a priori / a posteriori; and necessary / contingent. It will cover the syllabus materials on Analyticity, A Priority, and Necessity (the first section of Paper 3, Meaning). Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading An interesting and readable introductory textbook is: Sybil Wolfram (1989), Philosophical Logic: An Introduction, Oxford: Routledge.

Perception

Course description In these lectures I will discuss different philosophical views of the nature of perceptual experience, and analyze central objections. Where and when Friday 3-4pm, Lecture Room 2 (Sidgwick Site Lecture Block) Lecture 1: Naive realism Naive realism is the view that perceptual experience fundamentally is a presentation (to us) of familiar, mind-independent objects in our environment. It is motivated by the phenomenology of perception. Perception—the Naive Realist maintains—seems to be a presentation of those objects, and without a reason to think otherwise we can just take that appearance at face value.

Consciousness

Course description In this series of advanced seminars we will discuss six key contributions to the philosophical debate about the nature of consciousness. The reading list covers the Part II syllabus materials on Consciousness for the Tripos paper in Philosophy of Mind. Besides Part II students, students on the Philosophy MPhil programme are welcome to attend. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course.

Theories of Meaning

Course description This course will discuss four key moments twentieth century philosophy of language and logic. It will cover the Part 1b syllabus materials on Theories of Meaning for the paper in Logic. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading An good and comprehensive textbook is: Alexander Miller (2007), Philosophy of Language (2nd ed.), London: Routledge.