query about philosophy of mind courses

Dear colleagues,
I’m working on a book project in philosophy of mind. If you would, could
you let me know
whether/how often philosophy of mind courses are organized thematically
and/or cover one issue, such as mental causation or consciousness or
freewill or personal identity … ?
The intended contrast is between courses organized around an anthology
(perhaps plus a comprehensive text), as opposed to courses organized
around, say, three themes (for instance, mental causation, freedom and
consciousness, or content, consciousness and personal identity, or, etc.).
Information about any other sort of organization would be most welcome as
I’ve also posted this query on the PHILOSOP list, as you may have seen.
I’ll post a summary of what I learn in both spots.


  1. gualtiero piccinini

    I teach phil mind courses at various levels. For intro level courses, I have tried to use an anthology, a textbook, a combination of the two, and a textbook plus some monograph on a more specific topic. I’m planning to move in the direction of thematic course, reading perhaps a few books on specific topics or a selection of articles. For advanced courses, I always teach on specific topics, such as intentionality, consciousness, computational theories of mind. Usually I select the readings myself (books or articles as appropriate), but if suitable, I adopt an anthology (as in my current course on consciousness, where I’m using the Block et al anthology and the Baars et al anthology).

  2. I usually just do the mind-body problem, starting historically with Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, and la Mettrie, then moving to contemporary materialism, functionalism, and reactions to functionalism (incl. BLock, Churchland, Jackson, Chalmers, McGinn), and wrapping up with “applied” issues like artificial minds and life after death. Plenty for a quarter! It covers a good swath of leading figures and is nicely coherent.

  3. I still use the 1991 Rosenthal anthology The Nature of Mind, though I supplement it considerably. I might go over to Chalmers’s or Heil’s more recent anthologies soon. I find Heil’s textbook The Philosophy of Mind to be a pretty good secondary source, at the right level for decent undergraduates.

  4. Anna-Mari

    I´ve lectured the introductory course of phil of mind once in cogsci. My (poor) students had to read various classics (mainly articles, some book chapters, a lot of Fodor, some Cummins and so on). If I remember correctly, I had some sort of pedagocical idea then, but I cannot remember any more, what it was. So, it must have been quite strange and probably a bad one:).

  5. Anna-Mari

    I should add one thing to my previous post. The background of my course was this: Some of cogsci students (here) do not study philosophy at all, and thus the introductory course must be a really introductory one.

    Thus, I designed a course, in which we started with the methodological issues – I illustrated the typical thoughts experiments (like Putnam`s twin earth) used in cogsci-literature. I also had to talk something about logics – especially the modal logic – and something about the possible worlds (since they are used in so many thought experiments). I also had to talk about the analytic-synthetic- discussion and so on, because some of the students had their background in psychology, computer science or educational sciences, and I tried to help them to grasp the philosophical aspects.

    I organized the course very wildly; the main idea was to introduce the main themes of cogsci related discussion. Thus the course was divided into three parts – the general part (reductionism, eliminativism, functionalism and so on), the theories of content and meaning (meaning atomism, holism, LOT, prototype theories and so on) and the consciousness- part.

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