Mind, Matter, and MeaningPhilosophy 80Syllabus
Edward N. Zalta, Philosophy Department
Office: Cordura 226 and 560-206 (office hours only)
Phone: 723-0345 (Cordura), 723-1619 (Bldg 560)
Electronic Mail: zalta@csli
Mailboxes: Ventura Hall (next to Cordura) and Building 90 Lounge
Lydia Sanchez, 92A, 723-1157, sanchez@csli, 497-1666
Todd Franklin, 380L, 725-0108, franklin@csli, 497-7496
Lectures: MWF, 1:15 P.M., Galvez Mod 122
One discussion section per week (led by a TA)
This is a foundational course in philosophy, and it is required
for philosophy majors and symbolic systems majors. It is devoted to
three important areas of contemporary analytic philosophy: the
problem of free will, the mind-body problem, and problems in the
philosophy of language. By reading some of the seminal papers in
these areas, you will be exposed to issues and arguments currently
being debated in the philosophical literature. An important goal of
the course is to have you read, understand, and analyze the arguments
developed by contemporary analytic philosophers. Another goal is to
improve your writing skills, for these are essential to doing good
philosophy. This is, therefore, a ``writing intensive'' course. One
final goal of the course is to help you develop some basic logical
skills. The discussion section will provide an environment for honing
your skills. They will cover writing techniques, as well as questions
that come up in the lectures and readings.
Required Texts and Software: (All available at the
- Free Will, edited by Gary Watson
Naming and Necessity, by Saul Kripke
Tarski's World 3.0, by Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy
(Manual Including the Macintosh Program)
This is a five unit course and the workload reflects it. Besides
doing the reading and going to your discussion section, you will be
required to hand in the following:
- Two short papers, each three to five pages long. Everyone
will write on the same topic. However, you will turn in two
versions of each paper! The first version will be graded, and will
receive comments from your TA. You should take the initiative and
arrange to meet with your TA to discuss these comments (some TAs may
require that you meet with them). The second version of the paper
should incorporate the revisions suggested by your TA and any other
improvements you make on your own. Your grade on the short papers
will be a weighted average based on both versions (you will
have to turn in the first version along with the second, so that
improvement can be figured into the grade for the latter). The
overall grade for the short paper is worth 20% of your final grade.
- One longer paper, around six to nine pages. You will have a
choice of topics. It too will be written and then revised, using the
same procedure. It is worth 35% of your grade.
- One Macintosh diskette containing answers to selected
exercises found in the manual to the program Tarski's World
(which teaches you basic predicate logic). This will be due in the
middle of the quarter (check the course schedule) and will be worth
20% of your grade. You are allowed to work on Tarski's World
in groups! That way, if you get stuck, you can troubleshoot as a
team. If you work by yourself, you can still get help from your TA.
The remaining 5% of your grade is reserved as discretionary, to
be awarded on the basis of participation and improvement. It should
be emphasized that participation and improvement will be especially
important in borderline cases.
NOTE: The following course schedule is tentative and subject
to change. Such changes, if any, will be announced in class. The
reading assignments should serve two purposes: to help you pace
yourself and to indicate the date by which the assignment should be
read. However, if you can do so, you might prefer reading ahead, for
this will better prepare you for the lectures. We may not lecture on
all of the readings, though you are expected to read them all.
- Propositions and Valid Arguments
Signup for Discussion Sections
- Determinism and Indeterminism
read: Baron D'Holbach, ``Free Will Is a Myth''
- Determinism vs. Fatalism
read: van Inwagen, ``The Incompatibility of Free Will and
HANDOUT TOPIC FOR PAPER #1
- Freedom vs. Constraint
read: A. J. Ayer, ``Freedom and Necessity''
read: R. M. Chisholm, ``Human Freedom and the Self''
PENULTIMATE VERSION of SHORT PAPER #1 DUE
- A Weaker Form of Compatibilism
read: Harry Frankfurt, ``Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a
- Belief-Desire-Intention Model of Rationality
read: Daniel Dennett, ``Mechanism and Responsibility''
- The Mind-Body Problem
FINAL VERSION of PAPER #1 DUE (attach previous Version)
read: Descartes, ``Meditations II, VI''
read: Gilbert Ryle, ``Descartes Myth''
HANDOUT TOPIC FOR PAPER #2
- The Identity Thesis
read: D. M. Armstrong, ``The Nature of Mind''
- Functionalism: I
read: David Lewis, ``An Argument for the Identity Theory''
- Functionalism: II
PENULTIMATE VERSION of SHORT PAPER #2 DUE
read: Hilary Putnam, ``The Nature of Mental States''
- Problems with Functionalism
read: Thomas Nagel, ``What Is It Like to Be a Bat?''
- Relation-Argument Structure, Meaning, and Truth
FINAL VERSION of PAPER #2 DUE (attach previous Version)
read: Barwise and Etchemendy, ``Manual to Tarski's World''
- Problems with the Naive Theory of Meaning
read: Gottlob Frege, ``On Sense and Reference''
- Frege's Refined Theory of Meaning
read: Frege's ``On Sense and Reference''
- Logical vs. Grammatical Form: Analyzing
read: B. Russell, ``On Denoting''
EXERCISES FROM TARSKI'S WORLD DUE
- Russell's Solutions to Some Puzzles
read: Russell's ``On Denoting''
- Notions from Kant and Leibniz
read: Searle, ``Proper Names'' (excerpt); Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (excerpt); and begin Naming and
Necessity (skip the Preface!)
HANDOUT TOPICS FOR LONG PAPER
- Modality and Possible Worlds
read: Lecture #1 in Naming and Necessity
- Rigid Designators and Identity Statements
read: Lectures #1 and #2 in Naming and Necessity
- Arguments Against the Cluster Theory
read: Lectures #2 and #3 in Naming and Necessity
- The Causal Theory of Reference
read: Lecture #3 in Naming and Necessity
PENULTIMATE VERSION of LONG PAPER DUE
- Natural Kind Terms and an Argument Against
read: Lecture #3 in Naming and Necessity
- Dead Week - Review
- Dead Week - Review
- FINAL VERSION of PAPER DUE (attach previous Version)
1. No late papers will be accepted, nor incompletes given,
unless special permission is obtained from the professor in advance.
Permission to turn in a late paper is given at the price of a grade
penalty (one-half grade for each day it is late), unless there is a
genuine emergency or the circumstances are exceptional in some other
way. Late papers received without advance permission will be penalized
one full grade for each day it is late.
2. Reevaluations: Students may request a reevaluation of a
paper if they feel that it has been incorrectly graded. The work must
be resubmitted to the professor within one week of the date the paper
was graded and returned.
Copyright © 1994, by Edward N. Zalta. All rights reserved.