Eric Saidel

Eric Saidel

Title:
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Colloquia (Brown Bag) Coordinator
Office:
Rome 563, Office Hours: TR 1:10-2:10 & by appt.
Phone: 202-994-2009
Email:
saidel@gwu.edu

Areas of Expertise

Areas of Specialization: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Biology, Cognitive Science

Areas of Competence: History of Modern, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Aesthetics

My main interest is in better understanding the mind. Questions about the mind can be metaphysical - What is the relationship between the mind and the body? Do mental events cause physical events? - evolutionary - How did the mind evolve? What is the evolutionary history of the mind? What is the function of the mind? - based in studies of nonhuman animals - Do nonhuman animals have minds? What counts as evidence for the presence of a mind? I'm interested in all of these approaches. To best understand the mind, we need to triangulate, rather than adhere to only one approach.

I am currently trying to finish a book about the project of naturalizing mental content. The first part of the book examines what is probably the most popular option - teleosemantics - a theory which enlists natural selection as a determinant of the content of mental states. I argue that teleosemantics fails for several philosophically interesting reasons. In the second part of the book, I present my own attempt to solve the problem.

Education

B.A. Wesleyan University

M.A., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Publications

"Animal Thoughts," in Lurz, Robert, ed, Animal Minds, (Cambridge University Press) forthcoming in 2009.

"But Is It Art?" Presented at conference on "Art and the Brain" at The Phillips Collection, September 2006.

Classes Taught

PHIL 1153.10 TR 9:35-1050

PHIL 3251.10 TR 11:10-12:25

PHIL 3153.10 TR 2:20-3:35