Topic and Reading Schedule


Week / Theme




W1   Apr 3,4,6


Introduction to scientific method/

Cartesian roots of  the philosophy of  mind

am Introduction to Program/
       Video: “Prisoners of Silence”

 pm Introduction to Seminar/Larissa MacFarquhar, “Two Minds” (New Yorker article to be passed out in the morning session)


Approaches to Scientific Method Reading: Hippocrates,  “On the sacred Disease” (handout)


 am Descartes Treatise on Man (handout) Mediations, Discourse on Method, Passions of the Soul,

 Principles of Philosophy, (selections) (web handout*)

 pm Workshop: Descartes and Philosophy Workshop

         Reading: Churchland, p 5-10
               Searle, p. 7-40

W2  Apr 10,11,13


Determinism/ reductionism in physiology; parallels between bodies of humans and non-humans; studying the human mind


am  Workshop: What is Life?

       Lecture: Experimental Medicine

pm  Sacks, Man who mistook his wife for a hat  Preface; Part I: intro, 1,2,3,6,8,9;  Part II: intro, 10,12,14; Part III: intro, 15,18,19; Part IV: intro, 22, 24 (All recommended )

Claude Bernard on Scientific Method Reading: Claude Bernard, Introduction to Experimental Medicine, pp. 1-3; 5, 13-26; 27-28, 35-40, 52-57; 151-155;181-183; 196-205


Idea Fair on Group Projects

am  Claude Bernard, Introduction to Experimental Medicine, pp. 59-86, 87-105, 122-129, 136-140

pm  Debate: Animal Experimentation. Reading: Packet on 1876 Anti-Vivisection Law, James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast (handouts)

W3  Apr 17,18,20


Studying the human mind; chance vs. design/ determinism in evolution, parallels between minds of humans and non-humans

am  Video: “Secrets of the Mind”/ Ramachandran on Consciousness


pm  Ramachandran, Brief Tour of Human Consciousness(entire)


Charles Darwin and Evolutionary  Biology

Reading: Selections from Origin of Species (web handout*)


Organization of Group Projects

am  Charles Darwin, Selections from Descent of Man (web handout*)


pm   Lecture: Reception of Evolution by Natural Selection, Mendelian Genetics and Eugenics
    Paper 1 due in seminar

W4 Apr 24,25,27


Neuroscience and the mind; applications of genetics and evolutionary biology to society, politics, and religion


am  Kevin: Phrenology, Craniology,
     and Brain Localization Studies

       David: Cellular Neurobiology
      and the Neuron Doctrine

pm  Kandel, In Search of Memory
      pp. 1-278


Buck vs Bell. Reading: case materials and readings (web handout*)

am Miller  Finding Darwin’s God

                   pp 1-164


pm Animal Intelligence and Animal Emotion


W5        May 1,2,4


Emergence of a “science of mind”; current connections between evolution and consciousness


am  David: History of Psychology, Behaviorism, and the Cognitive Revolution


pm  Kandel, In Search of Memory, pp. 279-428.

Animal Consciousness

Reading: TBA

am Miller, Finding Darwin’s God

     ( remainder)


pm   Guest Lecture: Anthony Wheeler on Evolution of Human Consciousness, Civilization and Accumulated Stress

      Paper 2 due in seminar

W6  May 8,9,11


Philosophy of neuroscience; molecular account of life

am  More on cognitive  neuroscience/

       Midquarter synthesis—bring   

       Nagel, Bernard, Ramachandran,



pm  Churchland, Brain-wise,  

        (Read to  p. 198)

DNA and the Central Dogma

(Reading: Handout to be distributed in class on May 4)


Group Project: Make presentation to faculty (non-advisor)

am  Searle,  Mind (review pp. 1-29,
      read 29-111)

pm  Searle/Churchland  on


W7   May 15,16,18


Philosophy and consciousness; molecular account of life

am  Searle video

       Lecture: Neurobiology
       and the Law


pm  Churchland (pp.241-370)



Debate: Neurobiology and the Law

(Reading: TBA)


Group Project: Bring outline and bibliography for faculty advisor

am  Searle, Mind (pp. 112-150,


pm Theories of Mind—

      Taking a position

      (Web handout: Chalmers,
      Churchland and the “zombie”


      Paper 3 due in seminar


W8   May 22,23,25

Freedom of will and neurobiology; human behavior and genetics

am  Freedom of will 


pm  Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will pp 1-186 1

Guest lecture/workshop



Group Project: Bring rough draft of research paper. Peer review.

am  Wegner The Illusion of Conscious Will  (Remainder)

pm  Film and discussion: GATTACA


May 29,30  Jun 1


What does the history of the scientific study of life portend about scientific understanding of consciousness?


am  Recent work on Science and


pm  Churchland (pp201-240, Searle pp 151-164)



“Final Synthesis”

 am/pm  Presentation  meetings with faculty; group work on presentation


Group Project: Final research paper due.


June 5,6, 8






pm  Pot Luck




                                                                                                                                             *Available as handout from our program Web page