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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 39, Issue 2, June 2016

Renée Smith
Pages 177-207

How to Teach Philosophy of Mind

The most notable contributions to contemporary philosophy of mind have been written by philosophers of mind for philosophers of mind. Without a good understanding of the historical framework, the technical terminology, the philosophical methodology, and the nature of the philosophical problems themselves, not only do undergraduate students face a difficult challenge when taking a first course in philosophy of mind, but instructors lacking specialized knowledge in this field might be put off from teaching the course. This paper is intended to provide a framework for instructors with little background in this area of philosophy to develop a course in philosophy of mind. This course, aimed at the advanced undergraduate student, provides students with the tools necessary for understanding some of the key readings in contemporary philosophy of mind and offers unique benefits to both majors and non-majors. The course described here focuses on just two of the main problems in philosophy of mind—the mind-body problem and the problem of phenomenal consciousness—and briefly touches on other issues one might address. Finally, several solutions to common challenges that arise in an advanced philosophy course are discussed.

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