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CHUM 24A00 - CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Pre-requisite

No particular formal background in philosophy or science is required, though honest effort, introspective openness, and careful reflection are expected.

Course Description

This course promotes critical reflection on human consciousness as understood through a European tradition of shifting paradigms from Galileo and Descartes through Nietzsche and Heidegger to Turing and Derrida. We begin with an historical overview of the perennial problems that arise with how a mind and a body relate, how a person and the world relate, and how appearances relate to reality. We then examine influential philosophical theories of consciousness and their shortcomings. We end by looking to postmodern critiques, contemplative traditions, and cognitive science for novel approaches to the central questions. No particular background in philosophy or science is required, though honest effort, introspective openness, and careful reflection are expected.

Teachers

OWCARZ, Gregory (Philosophy expert)

Pedagogical format

Course participation constitutes a major portion of the final course grade, determined by class discussion efforts and demonstrated comprehension from careful study. Some lectures will be given where necessary to introduce new material or to clarify difficult concepts, but critical discussion in light of one's own preparations and understanding is crucial in examining the relevant theories, practices, and debates.

Course validation

Students must complete a critical analysis paper related to the lectures given and the readings assigned, which constitutes 25% of the course grade. Suggested topics must be approved by the fifth class meeting and papers must be completed by the eighth class meeting. Students must participate in an assigned group presentation project, likewise on an approved topic, which constitutes 25% of the course grade. Active class participation will be noted through discussion points, note-taking exercises, and quizzes if warranted, constituting 25% of the course grade. A comprehensive final exam held during the last class meeting will constitute the remaining 25% of the overall course grade. Late work will not be accepted, nor will make-up work be offered.

Required reading

  • Conversations on Consciousness - Susan Blackmore
  • Zen and the Art of Consciousness - Susan Blackmore
  • Kinds of Minds - Daniel Dennett
  • Mind and Cosmos - Thomas Nagel