From Monty Python and The Matrix to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange , popular films offer surprisingly perceptive insights into complex philosophical concepts. This course will begin by engaging “The Argument Skit” from Monty Python as well as Pulp Fiction to explore philosophical analysis, argument, and the relevance of thought experiments. It will then draw on a wide range of films – along with a diverse selection of historical and contemporary thinkers – in order to explore many of the central areas of philosophy. We will consider perception (the nature of perceptual experience and the status of perceptual data, in particular how they relate to beliefs about, or knowledge of, the world), philosophy of mind (the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body), and determinism (the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs). Debates around religion, free will, and ethics will also enter our discussions. Readings will be drawn from Aristotle, Anselm, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Locke, Nagel, Pascal, Putnam, and Williams, among others.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)