Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Michelle Montague


Associate ProfessorPhD, University of Colorado at Boulder

Michelle Montague

Contact

Interests


philosophy of mind and metaphysics

Courses


PHL 382 • Objective Reference

42560 • Fall 2016
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM WAG 310

Instructors:   Katherine Dunlop and Michelle Montague

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

In language and thought, we refer to many things—ourselves, our mental experiences, mental experiences of others, physical objects and their properties, past events, the future and so on.  The purpose of this course is to examine the conditions under which ‘objective reference’ is possible, that is, reference to objective particulars—objects or things other than ourselves. We will focus on the following questions: What is an objective particular? What is it to have experience of objective particulars? Is the idea of space a necessary condition for the idea of objective experience? What is the relationship between our experience of objective particulars and our reference to objective particulars? What is the difference between saying something with a sentence and understanding it? 

Grading Policy

1 presentation, 10%

20-page paper, 90%

 

Reading List (subject to change) 

P.F. Strawson, Individuals

W. V. Quine, Word and Object

G. Evans, The Varieties of Reference

G. Evans, Collected Essays

J. Campbell, ‘The Relational View of Experience’

C. Cassam, ‘Space and Objective Experience’

M. Loux, Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction

P. Boghossian, ‘The Rule-Following Considerations’

S. Kripke, Wittgenstein on rules and private language

T. Horgan and G. Graham, ‘Phenomenal Intentionality and Content Determinacy’

 

This seminar satisfies the M & E requirement

 

PHL 323K • Metaphysics

41650 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 1.102

This course considers many of the central questions in metaphysics. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Does God exist? Are we free? What is the mind? Is value objective? What is space?

PHL 382 • Phenomenal Intentionality

41815 • Spring 2016
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

Prerequisites

Graduate standing and consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

This course will be concerned with the relationship between intentionality and consciousness (phenomenology) for conscious perception, conscious thought, and conscious emotion.  In particular, we will look at theories which attempt to ground (in some sense) intentionality in phenomenology. There are many different views on the exact nature of what this relationship is. Some philosophers advocate a fairly weak claim: intentionality requires consciousness. Others opt for a much stronger claim: the intentional content of a particular experience is fully determined by the phenomenology of that experience. We’ll look at the various arguments and problems for these views.  For example, the possibility of unconscious mental states poses a central challenge for all of these views.

Grading

One presentation 10%

20-25 page paper 90%

Texts

Sample list of readings (subject to change)

G. Strawson, ‘Real Intentionality’

U. Kriegel, Phenomenal Intentionality

D. Pitt, ‘The Phenomenology of Cognition, or, What it is like to Think That P?’

A. Pautz, ‘Does Phenomenology Ground Mental Content’

T. Horgan and J. Tienson, ‘The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality’

C. Siewert, ‘Phenomenality and Self-Consciousness’

B. Loar, ‘Phenomenal Intentionality as the Basis for Mental Content’

F. Brentano, Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41295 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 0.126

The purpose of this course is to introduce a selection of the major problems in philosophy, to some of the solutions that have been offered to them, and to some of the arguments for these solutions.  These problems concern God, freedom, mind, knowledge, and ethics.  Does God exist?  Are we free? What is the mind? Do we know anything? Is value objective?

PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

41585 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 302

This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?

 

PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

43010 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 208

This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing?  Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same?  Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation? 

PHL 382 • Perception And Objectivity

43145 • Fall 2014
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Course Title:  PERCEPTION AND OBJECTIVITY

 

Graduate Standing and consent of graduate advisor or instructor required.

Course Description:

In this course we will consider some of the ways in which questions about perception and questions about objectivity overlap.  We will be concerned with the following issues. Do color experiences present color properties as objective properties of objects? If there are no objective color properties as we experience them, can color experiences be veridical?  What is required to perceive a particular as a unified object? Typically, when we perceive a particular we perceive it located in space. How do we perceive the spatial properties of objects? Perception is always from a perspective. Are there such things as perspectival properties? How do we square perspectival properties with the perception of purported objective properties? Do we perceive the spatial location of sounds, and if so, how?

Grading Policy:

One term paper approximately 20 pages 90%

One seminar presentation 10%

Texts:

Tyler Burge, The Origins of Objectivity

Casey O’Callaghan, ‘Perceiving the Locations of Sounds’

Casey O’Callaghan, ‘Object perception: Vision and Audition’

Matt Nudds, ‘Sounds and Space’

Peter Strawson, Individuals

Michael Tye, ‘The puzzle of True Blue’

Cohen, Hardin and McLaughlin, ‘True Colors’

David Chalmers, ‘Three puzzles about spatial experience’

Susanna Schellenberg, ‘The Situation-Dependency of Perception’

Michelle Montague, ‘The phenomenology of particularity’

Gareth Evans, The Varieties of Reference, ch 6

John Campbell, Reference and Consciousness

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement.

 

PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind-Phl Majors

43325 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WEL 3.402

What is a mind? How does it relate to a person's brain? How does it relate to their body and the external
world? Could a robot or a computer be conscious? What is it to experience a pain? How does the mental fit
into the physical universe? Philosophical thinking about the mind has been focused on questions like these for
hundreds of years.
In this class we will consider some of the most important historical answers offered to the questions above as
well as the views of many contemporary philosophers of mind. Specifically, we'll look at theories like dualism,
the identity theory, functionalism, and others. The goal is for each student to be able to articulate the basic
issues examined, to describe several possible responses to those issues, and to evaluate those positions
critically. This course requires active participation, including reading assigned material before each class
meeting and participation in class discussions.
The objectives are:
(i) To raise the student's understanding of the complex nature and historical background of issues in
the philosophy of mind, and
(ii) To develop critical thinking and enable students to communicate in an intelligent manner on these
issues.

PHL 380 • Metaphysics Of Objects

43490 • Spring 2014
Meets W 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210

WED., 12:30 - 3:30 PM

Graduate Standing and consent of graduate advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to focus on the concept object. Philosophers have used the notion of object to talk about many things: intentional objects, physical objects, abstract objects, and non-existent objects, to name a few. Is there a perfectly general concept or category object?  What counts as an object? Are there any? Are there many concrete objects, or is there only one? Is the notion indispensable in metaphysics? Is it useful? Is the notion of unity central for characterizing what counts as an object?

Grading

One term paper approximately 20 pages 90%

One seminar presentation 10%

Texts

Strawson P.F. Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics

Evans, G., Collected Papers

Mellor, D.H. and Oliver, A. Properties

Meinong, A. ‘The Theory of Objects’

Loux, M. Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction

Bermudez, J.L. (ed) Thought, Reference, and Experience: Themes form the Philosophy of Gareth Evans.

 

Satisfies the M&E Requirement

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42330-42355 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 9:00AM-10:00AM CLA 0.130

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

42565-42575 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 1

This course is an advanced introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of
belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include,
but are not limited to, the following:
• What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and
mere true belief?
• What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of
others)?
• Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge?
• Is it really possible to know anything at all?

PHL 380 • Thought, Perception, & Emotion

42718 • Fall 2012
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

This course will begin with an examination of the metaphysics of mind including a brief survey of dualism, standard physicalism, other versions of physicalism, functionalism, and panpsychism. We’ll then focus on two central features of the mind: consciousness and intentionality. We’ll start with the question, what is the best approach to consciousness?  We’ll then consider the question, what is the best approach to intentionality, a phenomenological approach, a non-phenomenological approach or a mix of these? With this background in place, we’ll consider the question of how intentional properties and phenomenological properties are related for thought, perception and emotion.  We’ll be concerned with the following kinds questions: Do thoughts and emotions have their own distinctive kind of phenomenology or is sensory phenomenology (broadly construed) the only kind of phenomenology there is? Is phenomenology grounded in intentionality or is intentionality grounded in phenomenology?

Textbooks & Readings

Chalmers, D. 2002. (ed) Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780195145816.

Bayne, T. and Montague, M. 2011 (eds) Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

There will also be several readings posted on blackboard.

Assessement

One long paper (approximately 20 pages) and one short presentation.

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