This 3-credit course (Bilkent course code 25502 section 01) serves as an introduction to the central problems in the philosophy of mind. Issues covered include (but are not limited to) whether a machine could think, thinking as symbol manipulation, the mind-brain identity theory, mental representation, and theories of consciousness. The aim is to furnish the student with a good understanding of the fundamental ideas of the philosophy of mind so that he or she might pursue them in detail in other philosophy courses. It is noted that Bilkent University is planning to offer graduate study opportunities and scholarships within the framework of a new Philosophy Department (to be established most probably Fall 1998).
Click here for a tentative list of contents. Follow the links to similar courses (cf. "Hot Links" below) to have some idea about the nature of this course.
You should be a graduating (i.e., fourth year, second semester) student in good standing (e.g., a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better) in order to register. Students from all faculties (including science, engineering, humanities, and social sciences) are encouraged to take this course. Naturally, a strong interest in philosophy is required. On the other hand, a background in philosophy is not necessary. To quote John Perry, the most important prerequisites are "the ability to get excited about rather abstract issues about the nature of the [mind]" and "the willingness to read and reason carefully about these issues."
Since there will be discussion sessions in the classroom, numerous reading assignments, and frequent essay-type homeworks, students are assumed to be reasonably competent in English. Here's a (tentative) breakdown of course components:
Jaegwon Kim's Philosophy
of Mind (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado) will be used as a textbook.
Another good volume is Brian Beakley and Peter Ludlow's The
Philosophy of Mind: Classical Problems/Contemporary Issues (MIT
Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts). Xeroxed copies of readings will be handed
out in class for a nominal fee. On the other hand, a fair amount of reading
material should be found on various web sites. These will be specified
as we go along.
METU and Hacettepe students are also welcome to take this course. They are kindly asked to contact me via email or phone so that we can discuss their case clearly.
Reminder: Spring classes at Bilkent will begin 19 January. The last day for adding this course is 27 January. The registration for classes will take place 15-16 January. I realize that this state of affairs may not be very convenient for students from METU and Hacettepe where the Spring semester starts later. However, this shouldn't discourage you; we may be able to fix your program through mutual cooperation.