OpenCulture.com has posted links to three complete, free courses from the great philosophy of mind and language professor John Searle from UC-Berkeley.
You may remember Searle from the Chinese Room argument as discussed in our philosophy of mind episode. These courses are on mind, language, and "philosophy of society," which I will surely be checking out, as I had no idea he was into that field.
These are just the newest of many online courses that OpenCulture tracks; check out the catalog.
Anthony Draper says
I’ve heard all 3 of these lectures (several times). Overall, the content is worthwhile. However, brace yourself for LOTS of digressions (often pointless) and frequent audio problems – which make for a somewhat frustrating listening experience, overall.
By the end, you will surely agree that Searle didn’t need 32 lectures (at 80 mins. a piece!) to explain introductory philosophical content. At most, this content could have been relayed to the student within 8-10 hours.
If you still want to invest that kind of time into the subject matter, then I strongly recommend reading one of his books instead (better time management on your part, you’d get more/deeper content, less digressions). Try “The Construction of Social Reality” or “Making the Social World” for starters.
Good luck! 😉
I’ve only listened to the Philosophy of Mind lecture series so far (which BTW is also available through the iTunes store in the iTunesU section, for free).
I agree about the audio quality, especially one can not hear the questions, and there are lots of questions. And Searle’s very good at answering and debating (in my opinion).
I happen to like Searle’s lecturing style (he even brings his dog to prove his case;-)).
The lecture follows his book Mind, a brief introduction, and covers about the same content. He’s a bit more direct and sarcastic in his comments in the lectures, which is fun.
BTW and for all PEL-listeners with German as their first language: The Searle book is also available in German, “Geist, eine Einführung” (Suhrkamp), and the translation is very good.
Scott B. says
I listened to these on Youtube (because I fucking despise Itunes)
( Philosophy of Mind lecture 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi7Va_4ekko
Philosophy of Language lecture 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk5pIzCNOzU )
I disagree with the above comments about sound quality; apart from a couple of lectures that are close to unlistenable because of such problems, I’d say at least 95% of them are fine (apart from not being able to hear the students’ questions).
I do agree he digresses too much, but typically he’s digressing away from, and then back to, solid content, and there’s enough of that content for these lectures to be worth listening to anyway, and the digressions are often entertaining themselves.
The main problem I had was trying to navigate these 28 lectures without any specific subject headings. Hopefully I can assist other people in that respect, because I compiled some rough topic descriptions as I was listening along:
Philosophy of Mind course:
lecture 1 Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem, Perception
lecture 2 Descartes’s Problems & Solutions, Other Positions
lecture 3 Behaviorism, Identity Theory, Functionalism
lecture 4 Recap, The Computational Theory of the Mind
lecture 5 Eliminativism, Anomalous Monism, Absent Qualia
lecture 6 Rigid Designators, The Chinese Room Argument
lecture 7 Strong AI, Cognitivism, Machines, Panpsychism
lecture 8 Cognitive Science, Vision, Connectionism
lecture 9 Consciousness, Thought Experiments, Objectivity
lecture 10 Observer-relativity, Searle’s Mind-Body Solution
lecture 11 Zombies, Supervenience, Mental Causation
lecture 12 Extended Mind, Mysterians, Causal Reduction
lecture 13 Searle’s Solutions to Descartes’s Problems
lecture 14 Property Dualism, Structure of Intentionality
lecture 15 Intentionality, cont., The Background
lecture 16 Overview, Intentionality of Human Action
lecture 17 Basic Actions, Naive Realism vs Representation
lecture 18 Perception, Twin Earth Argument, Determinacy
lecture 19 Intentionality of Vision, Perception, cont.
lecture 20 Perception, cont., Internalism vs Externalism
lecture 21 Externalism, Mental Causation, Extended Mind
lecture 22 Hume on Causation, The Problem of Induction
lecture 23 Sociobiology, The Connection Principle
lecture 24 Unconscious Rules, Indeterminacy, VOR, LAD
lecture 25 Aspectual Shape, Current CogSci, Free Will
lecture 26 Compatibilism, Quantum Indeterminacy, Self
lecture 27 The Background, Personal Identity, Self
lecture 28 Animal Minds, Review of the Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Language:
lecture 1 Philosophy of Language – Distinctions and Overview
lecture 2 Use & Mention, J.L. Austin’s Speech Act Theory
lecture 3 Speech Acts – Twelve Features, Five Classifications
lecture 4 Classifications, cont., Grice’s Theory of Meaning
lecture 5 Grice, cont., Some Counterexamples, Intentionality
lecture 6 Expressibility, Rules, Representation, Intentional Acts
lecture 7 Theory of Human Action, Freedom of Will
lecture 8 Performatives, Assertives, Directives, Commisives
lecture 9 Review of Speech Act Taxonomy, Frege
lecture 10 Russell’s Paradox, Frege’s ‘Sense and Reference’
lecture 11 Frege, cont., Extensionality vs Intensionality, Russell
lecture 12 Russell’s ‘On Denoting’, Strawson’s ‘On Referring’
lecture 13 Review of Frege, Russell & Strawson, Twin-Earth
lecture 14 Russell vs Strawson, Indirect Speech Acts, Indexicals
lecture 15 Cluster theory & Kripke, Externalism vs Internalism
lecture 16 Externalism vs Internalism, cont., Indexicality, Truth
lecture 17 Theories of Truth, Objections to Correspondence
lecture 18 Answers to Objections to Correspondence Theory
lecture 19 Relativism, Solipsism, Background Capacities & Rules
lecture 20 Anthropology, Fiction, Non-explicitness, Commitments
lecture 21 Fiction cont., Grice’s Maxims, Indirect Speech Acts
lecture 22 Indirect Speech Acts, cont., Metaphor
lecture 23 Radical Contextualism, Metaphor, Quine’s Two Dogmas
lecture 24 Naturalism, Quine on Indeterminacy, Chomsky
lecture 25 Chomsky cont., Pictorial Representation
lecture 26 Picturing, cont., Performatives, Human Institutions
lecture 27 Social Construction, Externalism, Proper Names
lecture 28 Philosophy of Language in Wider Context, Metaphor