PHIL 255: Philosophy of Mind, Review of Shear

How to study for the exam:

1. Read the assigned sections of Shear.

2. Read the Web lecture notes.

3. Understand the key concepts.

4. Prepare to answer the questions below.

Key concepts to understand

Consciousness, the hard problem, explanatory gap, nonreductive explanation, naturalistic dualism, neuroscience, functional organization, phenomenology, pansychism, emergentism,

Possible exam questions

A. Short answers

What is the hard problem of consciousness? What makes it harder than usual scientific problems?

Why does Dennett think that explaining consciousness is no more difficult than explaining life?

What does the zombie thought experiment purport to show about consciousness? Why is Churchland not convinced by it?

What does it mean to say that a brain process causes consciousness? What different view of causality are relevant?

Why is the concept of self relevant to understanding consciousness?

What does it mean to claim that consciousness is an emergent property of brain processes? How is this different from the identity theory?

What is panpsychism and what answer does it give to the problem of explaining consciousness?

What is the difference between core and extended consciousness?

What is the phenomenological approach to the study of consciousness?

What is the difference between a type-A materialist and a type-B materialist?

B. Essay questions

1. What are Chalmers' main arguments for his version of dualism? Critically discuss those arguments.

2. Which is a more plausible theory of consciousness, emergentism or panpsychism? Discuss.

3. Does the nature of human consciousness show that we should limit the development of artificial intelligence? Discuss.


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