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Grant number like: FS-50206-08

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Washington University (St. Louis, MO 63130-4862)
John F. Heil (Project Director: March 2008 to June 2010)

Seminars for Higher Education Faculty
Education Programs

$156,403 (approved)
$156,403 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2008 – 9/30/2009

Metaphysics and Mind

A six-week seminar for fifteen college and university teachers on philosophical questions about the nature of the 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 or ill-understood metaphysical presuppositions constrain the space of possible answers in ways that make the hard questions even harder. The seminar proposing here 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 according to the sciences. The aim would be to provide participants with an opportunity to think more critically about their own metaphysical assumptions and presuppositions and the bearing of these on their conceptions of the mind and its place in the natural world.