The Metaphysics of the Mind

University of Lucerne, autumn term 2018.
lecture, Monday 8-10, HS11.

How do we ever manage to get outside our skin? What allows us to represent things we do not thereby create and what is the relation thus established? The problem of representation is one of the oldest, and most difficult problems of philosophy. After sketching its contemporary background, we will approach it historically, starting with Aristotle and continuing through the great variety of species-theories of the Middle Ages to Descartes, Leibniz, Hume and Kant, with the aim of making progress beyond the present state of the debate.

In this 2h / week lecture, I aim to sketch the outlines of my habilitation project, making the history of philosophy, in particular Aristotle's view of perception as uptake of form without matter, profitable to present concerns of the philosophy, and in particular the metaphysics of the mind. Correlative to the seminar on problem of representation, the plan is to sketch a general and comprehensive ontology (inventory) and metaphysics (explanation) of everything that depends on the mind, not just the mind itself, its states, actions, and processes, but also things as colours, sounds, textures, values, norms, roles, institutions, beauty, coolness and possible quite a lot of other things as well.

Some adminstrative information is here.

The course also has a website on OLAT.

Here is a preliminary version of the compiled version of the course material.







Introduction, Aristotle


Aristotle's De Anima

Aristotle, De Anima, book II, chapters 5-12 (416b32-424b3): p. 22-40 of the Clarendon edition (whole book)
(other editions: here and here)


Proper Sensibles

Marmodoro, Aristotle on Perceiving Objects, ch. 3
Kalderon, Form without Matter, ch. 4


The Emergence of Content

Annas, Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind, ch. "Perceiving and Thinking", p. 71-88


The Problem of Intentionality

Perler, Theorien der Intentionalität im Mittelalter, p. 1--23 der Einleitung (whole book)
King, "Rethinking Representation in the Middle Ages: A Vade-Mecum to Medieval Theories of Mental Representation", in Lagerlund, ed., Representation and Objects of Thought in Medieval Philosophy, Aldershot: Ashgate


The Discovery of the Self: Descartes

Grüne, in: Perler/Haag, Ideen, Repräsentationalismus in der frühen Neuzeit:


The Veil of Ideas: Locke, Hume, Berkeley

from Perler/Haag, Ideen, Repräsentationalismus in der frühen Neuzeit:


Unveiling Reality:Reid and Kant

Johannes Haag und Markus Wild, in: Perler/Haag, Ideen, Repräsentationalismus in der frühen Neuzeit:

Brook, Kant's View of the Mind


The Psychological and the Logical: Brentano, Frege and Meinong

Brentano, Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt (Buch 2, Kap. I, § 5-7, pp, 124-132)
Travis, Views of my Fellows Thinking (Counting Thoughts)


Sense Data: Russell, Moore and the New Realists

Russell, Problems of Philosophy, ch. 1
Russell, The Analysis of Mind, ch. 7
Moore, Sense Data, ch. 2 of "Main Problems of Philosophy"
Nunn, Are Secondary Qualities Independent of Perception?
Robinson,Perception, ch. 6 and 8


Get Real: The Oxford Realists

Moore, The Refutation of Idealism
M.G.F. Martin, The Transparency of Experience


Doing Things: Speech Acts

Austin, How to Do Things With Words
Searle, Speech Acts


Thinking About What Is Not
multiple choice Test

Kimhi, Thinking and Being, introduction + ch.1


Wrapping Up: Perspectives and Perspectival Entities

Fine, 1982. Acts, Events and Things
Fine, 1999. Things and Their Parts