Online course

Matter and Mind: A Philosophical Understanding

Get an introduction to the philosophical and scientific relationship between matter and mind.

Matter and Mind: A Philosophical Understanding

Examine the interactions between matter and mind

The relationship between matter and mind has been the focus of natural philosophy and science since ancient times.

This course will look at past, present and future explorations of matter and mind and the philosophical implications.

With the help of current scientific understanding, you’ll examine the complex interactions between matter and mind.

You’ll learn about consciousness as an emergent phenomenon and the alien nature of machine intelligence.

You’ll explore the possibility of qualia as characteristically human but cognitively insignificant phenomena.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsIt is just absurd to deny that there exists two different kinds of substance "matter and mind" in this universe

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 secondsIn fact you, yourself are clear evidence. You have a body obviously a sort of matter, but you also have a mind, spirit or soul or whatever you want to call it. Therefore at the level of our internal feeling, there is no problem of matter and mind as the answer is so obvious. They are two distinct kinds of substances. Case closed. But we know from experience that our intuition or internal feeling are not always reliable. The height of a person is more or less constant, but we see his height is growing as he approaches toward us. A table feels absolutely dense and solid, but science teaches us that most of the space a table occupies is empty.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 secondsFurthermore, recent neuroscience research has revealed that there are material ‘basis’ or ‘correlates’ for mental phenomena such as cognition and consciousness. Of course this does not prove once and for all that there are only matter in the universe, and mind is just some complicated form of matter. But then again according to our best scientific theory of matter, there are little room for mind to causally influence matter. Complicated? Yes! After all this is the question of the universe, question of mind and matter, that is of everything.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 secondsI am delighted to take you through our quest for our answer to the question in this course. I am Sang-Wook Yi teaching philosophy at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 secondsBe prepared for the fascinating changes of the ways we think about this question, and its current twist, the possibility of synthetic, machine mind!

What topics will you cover?

  • Recent scientific consensus on the nature of matter and its philosophical implications
  • Historical survey of the competing views on the nature of mind and their philosophical implications
  • Current scientific results concerning the nature of matter-mind interactions and their philosophical implications.
  • Near-future prospects of scientific explorations of the nature of matter-mind interactions and their philosophical implications

When would you like to start?

  • 2018

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Discuss the current scientific results concerning the nature of matter-mind interactions and their philosophical implications
  • Discuss the near-future prospects of scientific explorations of the nature of matter-mind interactions and their philosophical implications
  • Learn historical survey of the competing views on the nature of mind and their philosophical implications
  • Learn the recent scientific consensus on the nature of matter and its philosophical implications

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to know more about our current scientific and philosophical investigation of the relationship between matter and mind.

Who will you learn with?

Sang-Wook Yi

I am a philosopher of science and technology at Hanyang University, Seoul. I teach the courses covering various aspects of contemporary science and technology, and I enjoy teaching very much!

Who developed the course?

Since its establishment in 1939 as South Korea’s first engineering institute, Hanyang University has been a major driving force behind Korea’s development.