Monday, March 15, 2010

John Searle, Philosophy of Mind - UC Berkeley

I am very happy and proud to present you yet another guest post by Saeed Ahmed. Saeed is a psychiatrist, a Pakistani by origin, who lives and works in the US, where he has also received his professional training. He is a very thorough podcast listener, taking on themes and building wide playlists around them. Or he takes on podcast university courses and carefully goes through the whole series. Here he writes his findings about a course at Berkeley about the Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy 132, 001, delivered by Professor John R. Searle. (feed)

When I first went here a few weeks ago, they had posted that most of the lectures wouldn't be available, but it looks like that has changed, so I have started listening.

Unlike Philosophy 138, 001 - Philosophy of Society (Searle's previous course - feed), which I think is a relatively recent interest of Searle's (or so it seems), the Philosophy of Mind is something he has thought about for decades and is one the world authorities on the subject.

I can't report much yet beyond lecture 1, which I think in itself is worth listening because it provides a very nice synopsis of the Cartesian influence and a summary of big problems in the field. Four of the problems: 1) How can one know one's own mind exists, 2) how can one know other mind's exist, 3) how can one know other objects exist and 4) free will.

Here Searle is at his best, in command of the material, lecturing without any aids (notes, powerpoint slides, etc), and taking interesting digressions from time to time.

I don't know which course to recommend more, this one or the one from last quarter (Philosophy of Society), however I think at least one of these should be sampled by anyone who has the remotest interest in philosophy, and I would say this is nearly mandatory for anyone interested in philosophy of mind, consciousness, or free will.

More Saeed Ahmed:
Politics 114B - UCLA political science course.

More Berkeley:
The Indian Rebellion 1857,
Human Evolution and Prehistory,
Dacher Keltner on Happiness and Health,
Modern Western History in podcasts,
Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914.