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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Semantic Externalism MSc (PHIL11065)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is about semantic externalism and its discontents the view that propositional contents and hence the contents of intentional mental states are individuated in part by facts external to the individual who are in those states. We will first look at Putnam's influential twin-earth argument and the ways in which Burge extended Putnam's argument. Then we will examine the possibility of reconciling semantic externalism with self-knowledge, and we will explore the anti-sceptical resources typically associated with semantic externalism. Finally we turn to a problem about how wide content mental states can be if not causally efficacious, then at least causally relevant.

Shared with undergraduate course PHIL10074 Semantic Externalism

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description 1. Semantic Externalism: From Semantics to Mind
Lecture 1: Putnam's Twin Earth Argument
Lecture 2: Burge's Arthritis Argument
Lecture 3: Object-Dependent Thoughts

2. Semantic Externalism: Compatibility with Self-Knowledge
Lecture 4: Self-Knowledge
Lecture 5: The Argument from Slow-Switching
Lecture 6: McKinsey's Paradox

3. Semantic Externalism: Anti-Sceptical Implications
Lecture 7: Putnam's Brains-in-Vats argument
Lecture 8: Discussion of Putnam's BIV argument.

4. Semantic Externalism: Mental Causation
Lecture 9: The Importance and Variety of Mental Causation
Lecture 10: The Modal Argument for Narrow Content
Lecture 11: Causal Relevance Versus Efficacy
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand key issues in contemporary philosophy of thought, including arguments for semantic internalism and externalism
  2. critically assess the epistemological implications of these views pertaining to skepticism and self-knowledge
  3. critically assess the metaphysical implications of these views pertaining to mental causation and causal explanation
Reading List
The main textbook will be Jesper Kallestrup, Semantic Externalism, Routledge, 2011. Other recommended textbooks include J. Heil & A. Mele (eds.) Mental Causation, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993; P. Ludlow & N. Martin (eds.) Externalism and Self-Knowledge, CSLI Publications, 1998; A. Pessin & S. Goldberg (eds.) The Twin Earth Cronicles, M. E. Sharpe, 1996; C. Wright, B. Smith & C. McDonald (eds.) Knowing Our Own Minds, Oxford University Press, 1998; K. DeRose & T. Warfield (eds.) Skepticism. A Contemporary Reader, Oxford University Press, 1999. Many articles can be downloaded from D. Chalmers┐

Full reading list available on Learn
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn page
Graduate Attributes and Skills (i) Presentation and writing skills
(ii) Analytical and critical skills
Additional Class Delivery Information The course will be taught by Prof Jesper Kallestrup.

KeywordsPhilosophy of mind,philosophy of language and epistemology
Course organiserDr Jesper Kallestrup
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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