What causes conscious awareness? Could a mind exist apart from a physical body? Will machines ever become conscious? In this course we will explore difficult yet fascinating questions such as these as we learn about major explanatory theories of consciousness. Weekly discussion of short readings paired with a lecture will give participants access to a range of philosophical and neuroscientific perspectives, enabling speculation as to whether 21st century research will move us beyond historic dead-ends, or rather only deepen the mystery that is mind. Specific topics to be taken up in the course include the so-called mind-body connection, personal identity and selfhood, artificial and animal intelligence, and psychosomatic illnesses that resist simple reductive explanation.

  • An Historical Overview of the Study of Consciousness
  • The Mind-Body Connection: Philosophical Theories
  • The Clear Vision (and Blind Spots) of Neuroscience
  • Personal Identity and Being a Mindful Self
  • Animals, AI and the Question of Non-human Minds
  • Provisional Conclusions: The "Mysterious Flame"

Wednesdays, 2:00 pm — 3:30 pm
March 20 — April 24
Christ United Methodist Church

Cost: $100

Frances Bottenberg (Ph.D., Stony Brook University) is a Lecturer in Philosophy. She has research and teaching interests in philosophy of mind, phenomenology, philosophy of art, and philosophy of education. Bottenberg is a native of Montreal, Canada, and is fluent in German and French.


To register online, visit Emeritus Online Registration, choose the class you want, and click the Add-to-Cart button. Then click the Check Out button and complete the requested information. An email address is required.