Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Subject Matter and Format

This is a seminar on issues connected with the traditional “problem of other minds”. In addition to reading some of the classic papers on other minds, we will look at recent work on related topics. There will be no lectures. Each week I will spend half an hour or so introducing the assigned reading, and the rest of the time will be devoted to discussion.


Twenty page term paper, on a topic of your choosing. See me to discuss your topic first. A draft or detailed outline (minimum 5pp.) must be submitted before the end of term.

Possible Topics

(Actual topics to be selected from this list, based on class preference; other topics may be added)

1. The Traditional “Problem of Other Minds”

Austin, Ayer, and Wisdom. Aristotelian Society Symposium on Other Minds. In Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 20 (1946)
Stroud. Significance. Chap. 2.
Russell. “Analogy.”
Malcolm. “The Problem of Other Minds.”
Putnam. “Other Minds.”
Hyslop and Jackson. “The Analogical Inference to Other Minds.”
Hill. Sensations. Chap. 9.
Sprigge. “Ayer on Other Minds.”
Ayer. “Reply to T. L. S. Sprigge.”
Sober. “Evolution and the Problem of Other Minds.”

2. Strawson and Davidson

Strawson. Individuals. Chap. 3.
Evans. Varieties. Chap. 7.
Davidson. Papers from Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective.
Avramides. Other Minds. Chap. 8.

3. Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein. Philosophical Investigations.
Kripke. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Postscript.
McDowell. “Criteria, Defeasibility, and Knowledge.”
Peacocke and McGinn. Aristotelian Society Symposium on Consciousness and Other Minds. In Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 58 (1984)
Avramides. Other Minds. Chap. 7.

4. Moran on Self-Knowledge

Moran. Authority and Estrangement.
Plus some companion readings (e.g. Wittgenstein, and Evans, a few papers on Moore’s Paradox).

5. Color Blindness

Justin Broackes. Guest lecture.

6. Block’s “Harder Problem”

Block. “The Harder Problem of Consciousness.”

7. Animal Minds

Davidson. “Thought and Talk.”
Malcolm. “Thoughtless Brutes.”
Tye. “The Problem of Simple Minds: Is there anything it is like to be a Honeybee?”
Dennett. Kinds of Minds.
McDowell. Mind and World. Lecture 6.
Allen. “Animal Pain.”

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments