'As I grew up I became increasingly interested in philosophy, of which [my family] profoundly disapproved. Every time the subject came up they repeated with unfailing regularity, "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind." After some fifty or sixty repetitions, this remark ceased to amuse me. (Betrand Russell).
With this in our heads, the next few meetings will focus on some issues in the philosophy of mind.
The proposed readings for the 15th January are by René Descartes and Gilbert Ryle.
Descartes, The Meditations I-VI. There are various translations freely available on the web. The classic translation by Haldane and Ross is available from Amazon, starting at £0.84.
If you are pressed for time, then Meditations II and VI, are the important ones for our purpose. The aim is to engage with his notion of the mind and its relationship to the body, so we are less concerned with his proof of God (but that's up to the individual believer).
The classic response to this is Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (Chap. 1).
Both the Descartes and the Ryle, and many others, are included in the comprehensive reader The Philosophy of Mind, edited by David J. Chalmers. (Around £25).
This reader also includes the two proposed readings for our February session, which will be held at the Hoop & Grapes on Tuesday 4th February. The waiting list will be opened for this after the January meeting, but - because of its proximity to that - it might be worth looking ahead.
The first reading for February is Rudolf Carnap 'Psychology in Physical Language' and the rejoinder to both Ryle and Carnap is Hilary Putnam 'Brains and Behaviour'. If you don't want to buy the Chalmers reader, then the original place of publication for the Putnam is R. Butler (ed.) Analytical Philosophy: Second Series (1968). [the date is important]. Various offers on Abebooks for around £3-5. The Carnap is here on the web (http://people.su.se/~snce/texter/carnapPsych.pdf).