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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Irrational Animals MSc (PHIL11112)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPhilosophy Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course examines philosophical and empirical conceptions of the mind. It does this by introducing the 'rational' conception of the mind and the philosophical accounts of belief that go along with it, and then examining recent challenges to the rational conception from empirical psychology. The course will attempt to determine whether or this challenge undermines the rational conception of the mind, and the philosophical conception of the mental that goes along with it.

Shared with UG course Irrational Animals PHIL10132
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Philosophical Method (PHIL11008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students holding an undergraduate degree from another institution should have passed an introductory course in Philosophy before taking this course.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have passed an introductory course in Philosophy. We will only consider University/College level courses.
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
On completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate understanding of:

- the subject matter of philosophy of mind and what it aims to give an account of
- how philosophical approaches of the mind relate to empirical studies, and so how empirical studies should inform philosophy and philosophical accounts of the mind (and vice versa)

In addition they will be able to demonstrate knowledge of:

- what a philosophical account of the mind and of mental states aims to do
- the nature of rationality, and what it means to say some action or belief is rational
- Davidson┐s account of propositional attitudes
- reductive or naturalised accounts of belief, including functionalism, and the computational theory of mind
- different accounts of the aim of belief
- the debate between theory-theorist and simulation theorists about our conception of the mind
- eliminitivist arguments
- different theories of introspection.

Students will also acquire the following transferable skills:

- essay writing skills
- analytical skills
- oral communication skills
- the ability to recognise and critically assess an argument
- the ability to do literature searches.
Assessment Information
One 2500 word essay.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Here is a sample bibliography. Sources will be available in the University Library or on-line. Actual content may vary from year to year, and will be set out in the course guide which will be distributed each year.

Jerry A. Fodor, Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind (The MIT Press, 1989). Chapter on propositional attitudes.
Jerry A. Fodor, LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Reprint. (Oxford University Press, USA, 2010).
Peter Carruthers, "Introspection: Divided and Partly Eliminated," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 80, no. 1 (2010): 76-111.
Peter Carruthers, "How we know our own minds: The relationship between mindreading and metacognition," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, no. 2 (2009): 121-138.
Stephen P Stich, "Deconstructing the mind," in Deconstructing the Mind, (Oxford University Press, 1996). Ch.1
Paul M Churchland, "Folk psychology and the explanation of human behavior," Philosophical Perspectives, 3 (1989): 225-241.
Paul M Churchland, "Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes," Journal of Philosophy , 78, February (1981): 67-90.
Jonathan St B T Evans, "Dual-processing accounts of reasoning, judgment, and social cognition," Annual Review of Psychology 59 (2008): 255-278.
David Velleman, "On the aim of belief," in The Possibility of Practical Reason, ed. David Velleman (Oxford University Press, 2000), 244-81.
JosÚ L Zalabardo, "Why believe the truth? Shah and Velleman on the aim of belief," Philosophical Explorations, 13, no. 1 (2010): 1-21.
Ralph Wedgwood, "The aim of belief," Philosophical Perspectives, 16 (2002): 267-97.
Nishi Shah and J. David Velleman, "Doxastic deliberation," Philosophical Review, 114, no. 4 (2005): 497-534.
Nishi Shah, "How truth governs belief," Philosophical Review, 112, no. 4 (2003): 447-482
Richard A Moran, "Responses to O'Brien and Shoemaker," European Journal of Philosophy, 11, no. 3 (2003): 402-19
Richard A Moran, Authority and Estrangement: An Essay on Self-Knowledge, (Princeton University Press, 2001).
Richard A Moran, "Self-knowledge: Discovery, resolution, and undoing," European Journal of Philosophy , 5, no. 2 (1997): 141-61.
Lucy F O'Brien, "Moran on agency and self-knowledge," European Journal of Philosophy, 11, no. 3 (2003): 391-401.
Donald Davidson, "Rational animals," Dialectica, 36 (1982): 317-28.
Donald Davidson, "How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?," in Moral Concepts, ed. Joel Feinberg (Oxford University Press, 1970).
Timothy D Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious, (Harvard University Press, 2002).
Jonathan St B T Evans, "Dual-processing accounts of reasoning, judgment, and social cognition," Annual Review of Psychology 59 (2008): 255-278.
Galen Strawson, "Mental ballistics or the involuntariness of spontaniety," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , 103, no. 3 (2003): 227-257.
David Owens, Reason Without Freedom: The Problem of Epistemic Normativity, (Routledge, 2000).

Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Matthew Nudds
Tel: (0131 6)50 3651
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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