The Philosophy Resource

Teaching resources for philosophy students and teachers

Externalism in the curricula

This section is about the Philosophy of Mind. Every course in the philosophy of mind in the Anglo-American Philosophical tradition contains a discussion of the relation between the mind and the body. And almost every course in Philosophy contains a component in the Philosophy of Mind.

AQA GCE A Level Specification

‘Epistemology & Metaphysics’ is one of the themes covered in Unit 3 PHIL 3 Key themes in Philosophy. The curriculum specifies that the following should be covered:

Substance dualism

  • Cartesian, or substance, dualism: the view that mind and body are distinct and separate entities.
  • Problems associated with this view of mind, including the mind-body problem.

Reductive accounts of the mind

  • Logical behaviourism, the logical analysis of mental concepts in terms of behaviour; identity theories, type and token versions of the ontological reduction of minds and mental processes to brains and brain processes; functionalist theories.

Non-reductive materialism

  • The view of consciousness as an emergent or supervenient property of the brain (or other suitably complex physical system). Biological naturalism or anomalous monism. Arguments and difficulties for such positions.
  • Whether such views are materialist or versions of property dualism. Accounts of mental causation: how can we explain, or explain away, the belief that mental states such as reasons, beliefs, sensations and emotions are causes of actions.
  • Eliminative materialism, the view that there’s nothing to reduce. The claim that talk about the mind and the mental articulates a redundant theory: ‘folk psychology’.
  • Accounts of mental causation: how can we explain, or explain away, the belief that mental states such as reasons, beliefs, sensations and emotions are causes of actions.
  • Eliminative materialism, the view that there’s nothing to reduce. The claim that talk about the mind and the mental articulates a redundant theory: ‘folk psychology’.

The section of The Philosophy Resource explicitly addresses all these issues in a way that (a) is comprehensible and easy to follow and (b) will stretch students’ and teachers’ understanding on these matter.

The material covered in this section will also be useful in tackling the text Descartes’ Meditations in Unit 4 PHIL4 Philosophical Problems.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

The issues of this section of The Philosophy Resource ties into the IB curriculum in two places:

Core Theme: What is a Human Being?
The core theme is an essential part of both the Higher Level syllabus and the Standard Level syllabus. The material in this section of The Philosophy Resource is directly relevant to an examination of our notions of “person” and to the question “Are we composed of mind and body?”, as well as to the possible topic of further study “What, if any, are the relationships between mind and body?”

Prescribed philosophical text
This section of The Philosophy Resource is directly relevant to the prescribed text: René Descartes Meditations