PHIL 255: Philosophy of Mind, Review of Graham

Announcements (corrected Oct. 18):

Thursday, Oct. 27: The exam will be written in other classrooms:

Surnames A-P: HH 336.

Surnames R-Z: HH 123..


How to study for the exam:

1. Read all of Graham.

2. Read the Web lecture notes.

3. Understand the key concepts.

4. Prepare to answer the questions below.

Key concepts to understand

Materialism, dualism, inference to the best explanation, animal beliefs, other minds, intentionality, functionalism, self-concept, rationality, weakness of the will, altruism, Turing test, Searle's Chinese room, Leibniz's law, supervenience, reductionism, personal identity, free will, consciousness

Possible exam questions

A. Short answers

What is the argument for dualism based on near-death experiences?

Why is mind-body interaction a problem for dualism?

How can inference to the best explanation be used to provide a solution to the problem of other minds?

What is the Turing test? Does it provide a way of answering the question whether computers have beliefs?

State and briefly evaluate Searle's Chinese room argument.

Can animals have false beliefs?

What is weakness of the will, and how is it possible?

What is the difference between saying that the mind is identical to the brain and saying that the mind supervenes on the brain?

What role does consciousness play in freedom of the will?

What is consciousness epiphomenalism?


1. Evaluate the plausibility of mind-body dualism. What do you think are the strongest arguments for and against dualism? Be clear about the nature and strength of the arguments you present.

2. Could a computer have beliefs? Critically evaluate what you take to be the strongest arguments for and against.

3. Is free will compatible with materialism? Discuss arguments for and against.

4. Explain the concepts of intentionality and supervenience and discuss their relevance to the evaluation of materialist theories of mind.

5. Why is consciousness a potential challenge to materialism? How might this challenge be met?

6. Does morality depend on free will and consciousness? Discuss.



Phil 255

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated October 24, 2005