Education Programs: Seminars for Higher Education Faculty

Period of Performance

10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013

Funding Totals

$125,552.00 (approved)
$82,625.97 (awarded)

Metaphysics and Mind

FAIN: FS-50306-12

Washington University (St. Louis, MO 63130-4862)
John F. Heil (Project Director: March 2012 to September 2014)

A five-week seminar for sixteen higher education faculty to engage with topics in metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Despite impressive advances in the neurosciences, fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind remain as elusive as ever. This is due in part to metaphysical baggage we carry with us when we set out to understand mind-body interaction, for instance, or the qualitative nature of consciousness. Unacknowledged metaphysical presuppositions constrain the space of possible answers in ways that make the hard questions even harder. The seminar I am proposing would encourage a fresh look at the territory by starting with a discussion of basic metaphysical issues, and working up to a consideration of the place of minds in the world as revealed by the sciences. The aim is to provide participants with an opportunity to think more critically about their own tacit metaphysical assumptions and the bearing of these on their conceptions of the mind and its place in the natural world.