Feb 2nd 2016

The Conscious Mind - A Philosophical Road Trip (edX)

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Explore the worlds of sense, thought and the mind, as revealed through the philosophical discipline of phenomenology.

In ordinary life we barely notice the operations of our own minds. In The Conscious Mind - A Philosophical Road Trip, we will illuminate what we take for granted in perception, action, and interaction with others. We’ll explore this mindful awareness through demonstrations, illusions, brainteasers, thought experiments, riddles and jokes, all designed to shake you loose from your ordinary assumptions about the way consciousness works.

You will explore your own mind and the minds of others in a new way, using a philosophical approach known as phenomenology. You’ll encounter some of the main ideas of the phenomenological tradition, through short readings by Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Their ideas are provocative and will animate the online and offline conversation as we proceed. But the main approach of the course will be experiential and experimental. You’ll learn phenomenology by doing it and journeying among the structures and elements of your own conscious experience.

You will learn how to:

- Closely observe your mind in action

- Illuminate the many assumptions lurking in the background of every waking moment

- Recognize “extra-sensory perception,” — an awareness of the non-sensory elements of perception

- Understand the dynamics of two interacting minds

- Rethink the world as a form of action

- Reflect on the phenomenological tradition in philosophy, encountering some of the provocative ideas of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir, and Merleau-Ponty.

- Read, interpret, and discuss challenging philosophical texts