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 A  Philosophy Course 290-4

Course Details

Philosophy Course 290-4

Appearance & Expression

Mike Martin:

230 Moses

Office Hour: 2.30-4pm Mondays




The class meets on Wednesdays 4-6pm 283 Dwinelle



Students taking this course for credit will write a term paper due no later than one week after the last day of class.


Tomatoes have a characteristic look. Some tomatoes lack this look, and other entities – fake tomatoes – can possess the look and thereby mislead someone about what they are. Nonetheless when you see a tomato in plain view you can see it for what it is, a tomato: that something is a tomato would seem to be a perceptible aspect of it. When someone feels resentful, that attitude may be expressed in the way they look at others, how they move, or in the manner of their speech. A skilled actor can mimic such expressions so as to appear resentful too. This doesn't rule out our coming to know in propitious circumstances that someone is resentful just by looking at them or listening to them. Yet many think that the person's resentment is not itself a perceptible aspect of the scene: our access to it is mediated through the person's behaviour or what is expressive of this feeling.


Why should one suppose that there is this difference between the appearance of kinds of fruit and the expressions of feeling or emotion? That is the question we shall be pursuing in this seminar. The aim will be to look at some of the traditional discussions of the problem of other minds; the elusive status of appearance; and the relation between emotional states and their expression.



In particular, I'll aim to address the following three themes:


Other Minds


Initial Reading

Norman Malcolm, ‘Knowledge of Other Minds', in Journal of Philosophy , v. LV , 1958 (also reprinted in his Knowledge & Certainty and in Pitcher, ed., Wittgenstein )

Fred Dretske, (1973 ) ‘Perception & Other Minds', Noûs , v 7, 34-44

John McDowell, (1982), ‘Criteria, Defeasibility & Knowledge', Proceedings of the British Academy

Colin McGinn, (1984) ‘What is the Problem of Other Minds?', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , Suppl Vol., 58

Quassim Cassam, (2007), The Possibility of Knowledge , Ch. 5



Frank Jackson, (1977) Perception: A Representative Theory , ( Cambridge : CUP), Chs. 2 & 4

Christopher Peacocke (1983), Sense & Content , ( Oxford : Clarendon Press) Ch.4 (on Oxford Scholarship)

Michael Tye, (2000), ‘Representationalism: The Theory and its Motivations', sec 3.3 in Consciousness, Color & Content , MIT Press – pp.54-60

Brian O'Shaughnessy, (2003), Consciousness & the World , ch. 21 (on Oxford Scholarship)


Emotions & Expression

Richard Wollheim, A Theory of the Emotions , Ch. 1

Rosalind Hursthouse, (1991), 'Arational Actions' in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. LXXXVIII

 B  Handouts Available for Download

All course handouts are in pdf format

Course Outline:

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First Handout:

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Second Handout:

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Third Handout:

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Fourth Handout:

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Fifth Handout:

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Sixth Handout:

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©2007 Mike Martin