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Required Reading: Warburton. (2013): Chapters 1 and 7.
Warburton. (2014): Chapters 6 and 12.
Sacks, O. (1985). A Matter of Identity (Ereserves)
Wiesel, E. (1982). Night (Ereserves)
Suggested Learning Activities: (All PowerPoints can be found in the Course Companion Shell: Content - Week 4 - Additional Resources)
1-Listen to the narrated PowerPoint: Does God Exist?
2-Video: Dr. Francis Collins interview HYPERLINK "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfbPZd2DXlE" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfbPZd2DXlE. Small group discussion: First, outline Dr. Collin's argument for God's existence and classify it. Second, assess the merits of his arguments by comparing and contrasting viewpoints with at least one other perspective from the readings. Third, do you find his position compelling? Why/why not?
3-Class Discussion on theodicy: First, discuss your reaction to the Wiesel reading. What questions does this raise for you? Does it shake your faith in God, or is it simply more confirmation that God does not exist? Second, can God's existence be defended in light of such monumental human suffering? If so, how? If not, why not?
4-Listen to the Philosophy Bites podcast: Tim Crane on Mind and Body HYPERLINK "http://philosophybites.com/2007/09/tim-crane-on-mi.html"http://philosophybites.com/2007/09/tim-crane-on-mi.html and discuss Sacks'sreading as it pertains to the mind/body problem.
Context: This assignment will enable you to explore the philosophical question of the relationship between mind and body. Our investigation will focus on the question of the nature of self. Do you have an immaterial essence (a mind or soul) that is the core of who you are, or is your sense of self reducible to or an emergent property of your brain functions?
Writing Assignment: The Oliver Sacks reading describes Mr. Thompson, a patient who has Korsakov's, a disease that is characterized by loss of short-term memory. This reading raises question about the relationship between our bodies and identities (self). We rely on memory and sense perception to identify people and objects, including our sense of self. Your memory, for example, tells you where you were born, who your family is, etc. What happens to our sense of self if these faculties fail us? Are we the same person? Is there a sense of self that remains apart from our faculty losses? If so, what is it? If not, why not?
Write a 3-4 page paper in which you do the following. First, describe Mr. Thompson's problem. Second, discuss whether Mr. Thompon's sense of himself can remain stable (or constant) despite the failure of memory. If so, why? If not, why not? Your discussion should demonstrate engagement with this week's readings on the mind/body problem, in particular the reading about Descartes.