McGinn on Mind and the Imagination


The aim is to approach some central topics in the philosophy of mind through the work of the British philosopher, Colin McGinn. McGinn’s thinking about the mind is influenced by, among others, Hume, Kant, Sartre, and Chomsky, and his voice is a distinctive and controversial one in contemporary cognitive science. Our main text will be his recent Mindsight in which McGinn begins by making an elaborate distinction between perception and image, which he then uses in developing a theory of the imagination. The book includes a discussion of dreaming and the cognition of the child. We shall also look at chapters from McGinn’s earlier work The Problem of Consciousness, paying particular attention to his understanding of the mind as modular, his rejection of physicalism and his view that spatiality is essential to consciousness.

The course will conducted in English throughout and students will required to write an end of term paper (5-7 pages).

Primary Texts:
Colin McGinn. Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning, Harvard, 2004
Colin McGinn. The Problem of Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 1990