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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2018

PHIL 1.16 Morality, Freedom, and the Mind

In this course, we will focus on classic philosophical questions about morality, freedom, and the mind. We all have to address moral questions in our everyday lives, but how should we go about answering them? What makes actions right and wrong—is it the consequences of the action, or the principle followed, or something else? We all feel like we are free when we make important decisions. But does it make sense to think we might have free will, given that we are natural creatures, in a world governed by deterministic physical and biological laws? If we don’t have free will, can we be held morally responsible for our actions? Finally, we all think of ourselves not just as physical beings, but as thinking things—as beings who are aware of our world, who have beliefs, thoughts, and hopes. But what is the mind—and what are beliefs, thoughts, hopes? Can the mind be understood as identical with the brain, or mental events as events in the brain? If not, how can talk about the mental be understood? We will examine a variety of approaches to these three central topics through both historical and contemporary philosophical texts.

Distributive and/or World Culture


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.