Spring 1995  Christian Perring

Phil 575

(Philosophy of Mind): The Limits of Psychology

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Office: 1413 POT     Phone 257-4377
Office Hours: TR 11.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon   e-mail: cperring@ukcc.uky.edu
Class Time: TR 12.30 p.m. - 1.45 p.m. in CB 233

Requirements: Attendance to at least 80% of the classes.  A take home exam.  Two 8 page papers. 

Course Description

Psychology as an independent science only really became established in the late nineteenth century, yet it has
become enormously influential in our society and has made great progress in its theories.  However, there are still
doubts about how much psychology can achieve in its understanding of human life.  In this class we will examine
the objectivity and limitations of psychology.  We will take a historical perspective, reading selections from
Descartes, Locke, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and early theorists of scientific psychology, including William James,
Wundt, Kraepelin,Freud, and Adolf Meyer.  There are two main kinds of objection to the possibility of a scientific
psychology: first, that an objective science can never capture the nature of consciousness, and second, that the mind
is not like an object, but rather it is essentially bound up with meanings and interpretation, and these are not part
of science.  We will examine how these worries were dealt with historically, and whether they still have
relevance in connection with today's psychology.  Students will be encouraged to chose a particular area in modern
empirical psychology and use it to pursue the issues that we deal.  Possible areas of study are: cognitive science,
theories of perception, neuropsychology, connectionist theory and parallel distributive processes, social
psychology, development theory, and psychoanalytic theory.

This course covers issues in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, history of philosophy, and philosophy of science. 
Students will learn about most of the current approaches to the "mind-body" problem.


The Philosophy of Mind: Classical Problems, Contemporary Issues edited by Brian Beakley and Peter Ludlow
(MIT, 1992) [BL]

Course Packet: [CP]
„Jaegwon Kim "Can Supervenience and 'Non-Strict Laws' Save Anomalous Monism?," and Brian McLaughlin "On
Davidson's Response to the Charge of Epiphenomalism" all in Mental Causation edited by John Heil and Alfred
Mele (Clarendon Press, 1993)
„John Searle "Consciousness, Unconsciousness, and Intentionality" Philosophical Topics XVII(1) 1989 pp.193-209
[To be available later in the semester]
„Louis Sass "Neurobiological Considerations," appendix to Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of
Modern Art, Literature, and Thought  (BasicBooks, 1992)
„Louis Sass "Humanism, Hermeneutics, and the Concept of the Human Subject" from Hermeneutics and
Psychological Theory: Interpretive Perspectives on Personality, Psychotherapy and Psychopathology edited by S.
Messer, L. Sass and R. Woolfolk (Rutgers U.P., 1988)
„Jonathan Lear "Introduction" to Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian
Psychoanalysis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990)
„Lawrie Reznek "Is Psychiatry a Science?" from The Philosophical Defence of Psychiatry  (Routledge, 1991)
„D.W.Winnicott "Psychoanalysis and Science: Friends or Relations?" in Home is Where We Start From (Penguin,
„Freud "Some Elementary Lessons in Psychoanalysis"

1.  The Mental as Non-Physical
Hobbes: Of Sense [BL Ch.2]
Descartes: Meditations II and VI and Reply to Objections II  [BL Ch.3]
Berkeley: from The Principles of Human Knowledge [BL Ch. 4]
Gilbert Ryle: Descartes' Myth [BL Ch.6]

2.  The Mental as Brain Processes
U.T.Place: Is Consciousness a Brain Process? [BL. Ch.7]
Saul Kripke: from "Identity and Necessity" [BL Ch.8]

3.  The Mental as Function
Hilary Putnam: The Nature of Mental States [BL Ch.10]
Pat Churchland: Reductionism and Antireductionism in Functionalist Theories of Mind [BL Ch.11]
Ned Block: Troubles with Functionalism [BL Ch.12]

4.  The Mental as Consciousness
John Searle: "Consciousness, Unconsciousness, and Intentionality" [CP]
Freud: "Some Elementary Lessons in Psychoanalysis" [CP]

5.  Mental Images
Aquinas: That the Soul Never Thinks without an Image [BL Ch.22]
Hobbes: Of Imagination [BL Ch.23]
Descartes: from Meditation IV and from Objection IV and Reply [BL Ch.24]
Hume: Of the Ideas of the Memory and Imagination [BL Ch.25]
William James: Imagination [BL Ch.26]
Gilbert Ryle: "The Theory of Special Status Pictures" and "Imagining" [BL Ch.29]
Daniel Dennett: The Nature of Images and the Introspective Trap [BL Ch.30]

6.  Association of Ideas and Laws of Psychology
Locke: Of the Association of Ideas [BL Ch.36]
Hume: Of the Connection or Association of Ideas [BL Ch.37]
Mill: Of the Laws of the Mind [BL Ch.5]
Mill: The Principal Investigations of Psychology Characterized [BL Ch.38]
William James: The Elementary Law of Association [BL Ch.39]

7.  Mind-Body Connections
Descartes: from Passions of the Soul [BL Ch.15]
Melebranche: from "The Union of Soul and Body" [BL Ch.16]
Leibniz: The Nature and Communication of Substances [BL Ch.17]
Kant: The Third Antinomy [BL Ch.18]

8.  Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry
D.W.Winnicott: "Psychoanalysis and Science: Friends or Relations?" [CP]
Jonathan Lear:  "Introduction" to Love and Its Place in Nature [CP]
Lawrie Reznek "Is Psychiatry a Science?"  [CP]
Louis Sass: "Neurobiological Considerations" [CP]

9.  Psychology, Hermeneutics and Science
Louis Sass "Humanism, Hermeneutics, and the Concept of the Human Subject"  [CP]
Donald Davidson: Mental Events [BL Ch.20]
Jerry Fodor: Making Mind Matter More [BL Ch.21]
Jaegwon Kim "Can Supervenience and 'Non-Strict Laws' Save Anomalous Monism?"  [CP]
Brian McLaughlin "On Davidson's Response to the Charge of Epiphenomalism"  [CP]