Causation

Course description The relation between causes and effects is typically taken to be asymmetric. Whenever C is a cause of E, then E is not a cause of C. But how do we explain this feature? What kind of asymmetry is this? Not all philosophical analyses of causation capture the concept of causal asymmetry equally well. In this course we will consider the metaphysical problem of causal asymmetry, and discuss how different accounts of the nature of causation can explain this asymmetry of causation.

Intentionality and Representation

Course description Can the intentionality of the mind be explained by a naturalistic conception of the world? Intentional mental states are those that are ‘about’ things in the world. This is sometimes described as their having representational content. The intentionality of mental states has been considered to be a defining characteristic of the mind and of mental life. And many of the people who think this also accept that the mind is a natural phenomenon.

Mind Dependence

Course description In this course we will consider how philosophers have defended the mind-dependence of some or all objects of experience. In its most extreme forms, such defences of mind-dependence result in Idealistic views about the nature of reality as we know it. But the more widely accepted distinction between primary and secondary qualities of experience equally reduces important features of the world to mere modifications of mind or experience.

Mind and Matter

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?

Philosophical Logic

Course description This course will introduce several key concepts in the philosophy of language and logic. It will cover the syllabus materials on Philosophical Logic (Section B of 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 interesting and readable introductory textbook is: Sybil Wolfram (1989), Philosophical Logic: An Introduction, Oxford: Routledge. Online resources Outlines and handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.

Persons

Course description These four lectures will consider the nature and persistence of persons over time. A particular focus will be on the recent debate about Animalism. The lectures will cover the Part 2 syllabus materials on Persons for the paper on Metaphysics. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading Those looking for an introduction may consult the Stanford Encyclopedia, which has a useful entry on Animalism.

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.