Projects in Previous Years

1st Semester 2003/04: Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science in David Lodge's Novel "Thinks..."


In David Lodge's new novel "Thinks...", he describes the efforts of philosophy of mind to understand consciousness on several levels:

On the literary level, he investigates the dichotomy of inner experience vs behaviour by changing literary style (not unknown from other Lodge models): diary entires, recorded 'streams of consciousness', standard prose with an emphasis on behaviour, student texts from a creative writing class on topoi of philosophy of mind.

On the philosophical level, he discusses the main issues of philosophy of mind in exchanges between the protagonists Helen and Ralph, and their personal thoughts.

On the sociological level, he depicts contemporary cognitive science in the Holt Belling Centre for Cognitive Science at the University of Gloucester. In his acknowledgements, he thanks Aaron Sloman and states that "though he shares some of the views of ... Ralph Messenger ... anyone who knows him will testify that they have nothing else in common."

In this short project, we shall discuss all three levels and compare Lodge's description of key issues of philosophy of mind with the philosophical literature.