Visiting Professor of Philosophy
He has taught at the University of Hawaii, the University of London, Idaho State University, and at other colleges and universities in the U.K. and the U.S. He was an Alexander von Humbolt Fellow at the University of Munich, and is a Permanent Member of the Senior Common Room at University College, Oxford.
He has written a book on the philosophy of colour (Colour: a Philosophical Introduction, Blackwell, Oxford, 1991, 2nd ed,) and a number of articles on time, the latest one on the concept of the future.
His deepest loves are colour and composition in painting, and the meaning in words in poetry. He has strong research interests in philosophy of mind, and his most recent publication in the area is "'My Body,' 'my X' and 'I,'" American Philosophical Quarterly, 3 (2008), and also in diagrammatic and visual logics, "Logic as a Vector System," Journal of Logic and Computation, 3 (2005).
How can the mind and the body interact, as they are two entirely different sorts of things? Or are they two entirely different sorts of things? This course explores some of the history and the logic of the mind-body problem, and focuses on solutions from Descartes to the present, including the instructor's own solution, to be presented in a book published by the MIT Press in 2015-16. A large part of the course will be the reading and discussion of the author's manuscript for the Press.
Topics to be discussed include: Platonism about time, the topology of time, if any, the McTaggart Argument, Presentism vs. Eternalism, the nature of the present, the reality of the past, time travel, space-time worms and the four-dimensional view of time
Kafka wrote, "Belief is a frozen sea. Philosophy is an axe." I would like students to get to know the ins and outs of philosophical problems, so that they can wield their own "axes" with skill and accuracy. This introduction to philosophy aims to get to the bottom of each of the philosophical problems discussed, without any sacrifice of technical correctness or historical sensitivity. The problems to be discussed will be: the nature of philosophy; the nature of logic; the problem of evil; the existence of God; what knowledge is; personal identity; the mind-body problem; freewill and determinism; and the meaning of life. There will be two papers, question sets, a one-hour mid-term and a one-hour final. The questions on the exams will be drawn from the question sets. Also required are two short (6-page) papers.
The freewill problem. Are human beings free? If not, why not? What happens if God, or anyone else, people in the NSA, for example, or even our friends, know the future? Does that make us unfree? If time travel is possible, does that tend to make us unfree? Is there any way of squaring freewill and what we know from science, especially neuroscience and psychology, and is so called hard determinism true, the proposition that no human action is free because all human actions are events caused as a part of nature? There will be two papers, question sets, a one-hour mid-term and a one-hour final. The questions on the exams will be drawn from the question sets. Also required are two short (6-page) papers. Prerequisite: At least one prior philosophy course.