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

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy of Psychology MSc (PHIL11089)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will survey philosophical issues particular to the scientific study of the mind, with a special focus on the methodology and explanatory practices of psychology. We will cover questions such as: Can subjective reports count as evidence? Is "unconscious inference" a coherent concept? Are there mental images? What can evolution tell us about our minds? Do mental representations considered as computational states "mean" anything?

Shared with undergraduate course (PHIL10081)

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description Week 1: What is (philosophy of) psychology?
Week 2: Explanation: 1st and 3rd Person
Week 3: Behaviorism
Week 4: Critiques of Behaviorism
Week 5: Unconscious Inferences
Week 6: Gestalt and the New Mechanism
Week 7: The Role of Meaning?
Week 8: Inference and Belief in Simpler Minds
Week 9: Evolutionary Psychology
Week 10: Imagery Debate
Week 11: Imagery Continued / Review
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  8
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Weekly participation by writing online forum posts (20%)
2. End-of-semester essay of 3,000 words (80%) (hard limit on word count)

Final essay deadline deadline: Monday 17th April 2017 by 12 noon
Word limit: 3000 words maximum (excluding references)
Return deadline: Tuesday 9th May 2017
Feedback - Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay by week 6 deadline on Turnitin via Learn. The essay cannot be draft of summative essay but it can be on the same topic.

Formative essay deadline: Thursday 2nd March 2017 by 12 noon
Return deadline: Friday 24th March 2017
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify the major movements in 20th century psychology
  2. articulate key strategies in psychological explanation, especially: Mechanistic explanation, Behaviorist explanation, Evolutionary explanation
  3. articulate the distinctive features of evidence in psychology, in particular, the use of 1st personal data
  4. discuss the changing perspective on the role of unconscious processes in psychological explanation
  5. discuss the role of analogies with physics in the development of psychology and its methods
Reading List
Wolfgang K÷hler, Gestalt Psychology (1947) ┐ this book is available cheaply online or from Blackwell┐s books; there are also several copies on reserve in the HUB section of the library

A complete reading list, with readings for each week, is on Learn.
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn page
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Reading, understanding and critically engaging with complex texts
- Critical thinking
- Constructive oral engagement
- Interdisciplinary thinking
- Evaluating arguments and theories
- Constructive oral engagement
- Working to deadlines
- Ability to articulate and defend positions in a debate
Additional Class Delivery Information The course is taught by Dr Mark Sprevak.
KeywordsPsychology; Philosophy; Mind; Consciousness; Externalism; Meaning; Evolutionary Psychology
Course organiserDr Mark Sprevak
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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