Teaching Philosophy of Mind at Talbot School of Theology
November 29, 2010
The Fall semester is over in a few more weeks and I am eagerly looking forward to the Spring semester. I traditionally teach Metaphysics in the Fall and Philosophy of Mind in the Spring for the graduate program in philosophy at Talbot School of Theology.
I have been teaching philosophy of mind for twenty-five years, and I am passionate about the subject matter. As I read the Bible, consciousness and the self are immaterial, spiritual entities, and not physical. Yet with the emergence of naturalism and scientism, there has been pressure for several decades to treat these as physical. On the other hand, if these are, indeed, immaterial, then, arguably, 1) they are not sense-perceptible, yet they can be known by direct awareness (so knowledge goes beyond the senses); 2) there is no adequate naturalistic, e.g., evolutionary, explanation for their origin; 3) the traditional Christian teaching on these matters, including a disembodied intermediate state, is actually true.
My main approach in teaching the course, is to begin with an overview of the various positions currently held by prominent people, and to use key texts from various sides to guide the exploration of the details regarding the issues and arguments relevant to the topic. I give careful analysis of the arguments in the texts, along with my own insights. The result is a solid investigation of central topics in philosophy of mind. My hope is that by investigating central texts offered by physicalists and dualists, students will come away with a deeper conviction that the traditional Christian understanding of consciousness and the self are true and defensible.
Further info about the classes that I teach is available here.
As a former student of Dr. Moreland’s, let me encourage any and all readers to take the plunge. I personally preferred his metaphysics course, and probably got more out of it, but the philosophy of mind material is at least as interesting, faith-bolstering, and practically useful.
I hope, one day, to be able to take one of your courses. I love the blog and have several of your books either already on my bookshelf or on my “to-get” list.
Thanks so much for your careful thinking and your passion for teaching.
While the natural sciences are concerned with the intrinsic value of things Searle flies in the face of such prevailing views – what he refers to as an inner subjective qualitative state of consciousness p. Just as Wittgenstein was convinced that most philosophical problems are merely the result of philosophers misuse of language Searle sees the problem between the property dualist and the materialist camps to be semantic in nature with false opposition of physical versus mental delineations of reality p.