SCIENCE OF THE MIND

the study of the mind
On ONE of the following questions, compose a 1,300–1,500 word essay.

Your essay’s objective is to:

1) Summarize the research you conducted.

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2) If necessary, bring forth other viewpoints and factors that your sources either discounted or overlooked.

3) Describe and defend your viewpoints on these subjects.

In this task, you will be primarily developing the following skills:

Analytical Reasoning and Critical Thinking
The capacity to express and defend your viewpoint in writing.
You are welcome to visit my office during business hours to discuss your source selection and/or to present me with the drafts and published versions of your article. You are welcome to visit as often as you wish.

Please read the following instructions carefully.

Your essay must extensively cite and quote from AT LEAST TWO reliable academic sources (please only use books and/or articles from peer-reviewed journals; no news items or websites). These need to be properly referenced in accordance with APA standards.
You should use the sources that I gave for you on my courses as a starting point.
Essays with fewer than two citations to the scholarly sources specified above will receive a C or lower grade.
References to class discussions, in-class role plays, etc., should be included in essays.
Your homework should be uploaded to my courses. Any assignments that are delivered to me by email will not be accepted.
Any late submissions will receive a grade that cannot exceed a C.
Students who fail the assignment or receive a D are permitted to retake it, but the grade will only go up to a C.
Select ONE of the following possibilities:

1) “[So] even if we think there is something it is like to be a bat, we cannot know what it is like to be a bat.” In Blackmore, p.

.Are you in agreement that we will never truly understand what it’s like to be a bat? Explicitly justify your response.
What key concerns and arguments around the term “consciousness” are highlighted by the question “What is it like to be a bat?”?
2) It is challenging to establish the existence of Qualia because they don’t seem to have quantifiable physical characteristics.

Give a definition of qualia and a specific instance of a quale that has unique importance for you.
Are qualia, in your perspective, distinct from brain function? A quale may depend on neurological information, but does it also contain additional information? Discuss in light of Mary the Color Scientist’s thought experiment.
3) There is no internal witness, no central recognizer of meaning, and no self other than an abstract “Center of Narrative Gravity,” which is nothing more than a handy fabrication, according to Daniel Dennett. The Emperor does not, in Dennett’s opinion, have no clothing. There should be no Emperor for the garments. 2000, pp. 55–56 in Voorhees.

Write a summary of Dennett’s idea that consciousness is similar to a magic trick.
The theory put forward by Dennett infuriates Voorhees. How much of his dismay do you share? Explicitly justify your response. NB If you decide to respond to this inquiry, you may find the following additional source useful:
http://web.cs.swarthmore.edu/~meeden/cogs1/s07/DanielDennett.pdf (Links to a third-party website.)
4) According to Antonio Damasio, the division between the mind and the brain that Cartesian dualism sees has had at least two extremely detrimental repercussions on the fields of science and medicine.

Give a summary of these two adverse outcomes and indicate your level of agreement with Damasio that they have had a negative impact.
What explanation of the mind-body relationship does Damasio provide as an alternative to Cartesian dualism, and how appealing and tenable do you think it to be? In your response, please refer to the tragic tales of Phineas Gage and Elliot.
5) Will you still be alive after death if every neuron in your brain gets replaced with an artificial one and converted from silicon to flesh before you pass away? Why not, if not? Will your consciousness even change as a result? Why, if so? NB In your response, please make reference to qualia and the Philosophers Zombie thought experiment.

 

 

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