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2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS-PHILOSOPHY SUMMER SCHOOL IN CHINA

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2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS-PHILOSOPHY SUMMER SCHOOL IN CHINA

    PHILOSOPHY SUMMER SCHOOL IN CHINA

    2013 SESSION: PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY

    YANSHAN UNIVERSITY, QINHUANGDAO

    ndth22 July-11 August

Professor Louise Antony (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

     MIND OVER MATTER: HOW REASONS MOVE US

    Professor Martin Davies & Dr Anne Aimola Davies (University of Oxford)

    PATHOLOGIES OF BELIEF

    Dr Jim Hopkins (King’s College London)

    PSYCHOANALYSIS, NEUROSCIENCE, AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY

    Professor Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling)

    MIND: EMBODIED, EMBEDDED, AND EXTENDED

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

    MIND OVER MATTER: HOW REASONS MOVE US

    Professor Louise Antony (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

    Suppose that you find me crawling around on the floor, patting the ground, and you ask me why I am doing that. I reply that I am trying to find an earring that I just dropped. That is, I explain my actions by giving you my reason for acting in the way that I do. But what is a reason, and how does can it explain an action? One thing we can say right away is that a reason allows us to understand an

    action. You may have been puzzled to see me down on the floor, but once you know my reason, you see that my behaviour makes perfect sense. We can call this the rationalizing power of the

    reason. But rationalization is not enough for a reason to explain an action -- the reason must also be related to the action in the right way. The reason must, first of all, involve beliefs and desires that I actually have: the desire to exercise might make my behaviour seem sensible, but it cannot be the reason why I'm down on the floor if I don't in fact wish to exercise. But secondly, in order for a reason

    to explain my action, it must be a reason that actually moves me. Even if I do have a desire to exercise,

    it could still be the desire to find my earring that actually gets me to bend down. Reasons, it appears, must also have causal power.

    But how do we put these two powers -- the power to rationalize, and the power to cause - - together? Reasons, it appears, are mental things, and bodily movements are physical. How can

    something mental cause something physical? Maybe, as some philosophers suggest, there really is no difference between the mental and the physical -- that the states we call "mental" are really just states of the nervous system. But in that case, where does the rationalizing power of reasons come from? High winds sometimes cause tree limbs to snap. It's not that it's reasonable for the tree to shed

    a bough when the wind is high -- it's just what happens. How can the fact that some set of neurons fired make it reasonable for certain of my muscles to contract?

    These are the questions that this course will investigate. We'll begin with a brief introduction to three

    popular theories of mind-body relations -- dualism, the identity theory, and functionalism -- and then see how problems of mental causation has arisen, and how philosophers have tried to solve them.

COURSE TEXT:

    Ravenscroft, Ian, Philosophy of Mind: A Beginner's Guide (Oxford UP, 2005)

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    PATHOLOGIES OF BELIEF

    Professor Martin Davies & Dr Anne Aimola Davies (University of Oxford)

Some people seem to believe quite extraordinary things. For example, people say: ‘My spouse has been

    replaced by an impostor’, ‘The person I see in the mirror is not really me’, ‘This arm is not mine, it is yours; you have three arms’. These bizarrely false beliefs – delusions present theoretical challenges

    for psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy. This course will develop a framework for explaining delusions, beginning with delusions that arise following brain injury, but aiming also to encompass delusions of psychiatric origin. The course will include discussion of the definition of delusion and whether delusions are really beliefs, and of the possible roles of unusual experiences, neuropsychological deficits, attributional styles, reasoning biases, cognitive impairments, and motivation in delusions.

    Brendan Maher, a Harvard psychologist, proposed that delusions arise as normal responses to highly unusual experiences. We shall assess this proposal by considering the kinds of unusual experiences that might give rise to delusions such as the Capgras delusion, mirrored-self misidentification, and somatoparaphrenia (the three delusions mentioned above) and others, including the Cotard delusion (‘I am dead’) and anosognosia (a patient who, paralysed following a stroke, believes that he or she can still move and use the paralysed limb). Somatoparaphrenia and anosognosia are delusions about the body and so we shall consider, in particular, unusual bodily experiences. These will include illusory limb movements in patients following stroke and bodily illusions that are elicited in healthy individuals by procedures involving rubber hands, such as the illusion of self-touch.

    We shall then turn to an argument that, even if an unusual experience is necessary for a delusion, it is not sufficient there is also a cognitive factor involved in the aetiology of a delusion. This leads to the two-factor theory of delusions, developed by Australian cognitive scientist Max Coltheart and colleagues. According to the two-factor theory, the second factor in delusions is an impairment of belief evaluation and one of the challenges for the theory is to give an account of the nature of this impairment. Here, we shall consider empirical findings about how individuals with delusions reason, as well as Bayesian approaches to understanding both normal and impaired belief formation, revision, and evaluation. We shall connect Bayesian approaches to recent work in cognitive neuroscience on the Bayesian brain and, particularly, on prediction error signals; and we shall discuss the relationship between the cognitive-scientific two-factor theory and theories of delusion that have emerged from that neuroscientific research.

COURSE READING: A course pack will be provided.

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PSYCHOANALYSIS, NEUROSCIENCE, AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY

Dr Jim Hopkins (King’s College London)

    This course will introduce some basic topics of psychoanalytic depth psychology together with a range of work related to these topics in contemporary neuroscience. The psychoanalytic topics will include the interpretation of dreams, the drives (or basic sources of motivation), and Freud’s structural model of ego, superego, and id. These will be related to recent neuroscientific work on dreams and memory, motivation, and structural aspects of neural processing. Philosophical thinking on subpersonal as opposed to personal states and processes related to these topics will be supplemented by discussion of the approach pioneered by von Helmholtz, whose work has proven seminal for recent computational neuroscience.

COURSE READING: A course pack will be provided.

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MIND: EMBODIED, EMBEDDED AND EXTENDED

Professor Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling)

    An increasing amount of work in cognitive science favours explanations of psychological phenomena that fall under the banner of the embodied, embedded and extended mind. According to this emerging paradigm, thinking is routinely dependent, in complex and intricate ways, on (a) bodily structures and events (e.g. the precise wiring and chemistry of the brain, bodily gestures) and (b) the bodily exploitation of external props and scaffolds (e.g. notebooks, smartphones). Controversially, these patterns of bodily and environmental dependence are often heralded as challenging the traditional cognitive-scientific vision of mind as a brain-bound but abstractly defined computational system sandwiched between sensory input and motor output. Indeed, in its most provocative form, the new perspective claims that there are actual cases of intelligent action in which thinking is distributed over brain, body and world, in such a way that the external (beyond-the-skin) factors concerned are rightly accorded cognitive status. In other words, mind is located partly outside the boundaries of skull and skin. This course will involve the analysis and discussion of a selection of papers that have helped to set the agenda for the current debate. Beginning with John Haugeland’s ground-breaking piece ‘Mind

    Embodied and Embedded’, taking in hotly debated contributions such as ‘Intelligence without Representation’ by Rodney Brooks and ‘The Extended Mind’ by Andy Clark and David Chalmers, and ending with a consideration of recent work that explores the intimate developmental intertwining of culture and mind, we shall explore and evaluate the questions surrounding, the arguments for, and the science that relates to, the embodied, embedded and extended mind.

COURSE READING: A course pack will be provided.

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