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

Postgraduate Course: Theories of Mind (Philosophy MSc) (PHIL11021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines selected conceptual and theoretical issues in the Philosophy of Mind, particularly with respect to computationalism and physicalism.
Course description What is a mind, what are the essential characteristics distinguishing mental from non-mental systems? Two key features traditionally offered in response to this question are (1) representational content: mental states can be about external objects and states of affairs, they can represent and bear content or meaning; (2) conscious experience: only minds are consciously aware and have subjective, qualitative experiences, roughly, there is something it is like to be a mind. A central aim of the course will be to examine the extent to which these two features can be captured or explained by computational and/or physicalist methods, and to explore some of the conceptual issues basic to Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence as theoretical approaches to the mind.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  9
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be by a 2500 word essay (100%).
The topic of the essay will be developed by the student in consultation with the course organiser.
Feedback Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay. The essay cannot be draft of the summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts and evaluate arguments.
  2. understand and engage with key issues in the philosophy of mind, particularly with respect to computational theories of the mind
  3. exercise critical, analytic and communication skills developed via oral participation in seminars.
  4. deploy their skills in individual research through development of an essay topic and selection/exploration of a body of relevant academic literature.
  5. exercise written communication skills enhanced by developing and articulating their own critical ideas in response to research literature.
Reading List
Core Syllabus Topics

- Turing and the Computational Paradigm
- Searle and the Chinese Room
- Dennett and Intentional Systems
- Fodor and the Language of Thought
- Putnam and Semantic Externalism
-The Boundaries of the Mind
- Physicalism and the Problem of Consciousness
- Non-classical Paradigms

Recommended references:
[1] Lycan, W. and J. Prinz, Mind and Cognition, Third Edition,
Blackwell Publishers.

[2] Chalmers, D., Philosophy of Mind, OUP.

[3] Haugeland, J., Mind Design II, MIT Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to analyse philosophical arguments
Ability to articulate and defend positions in a philosophical debate
Reading, understanding and critically engaging with complex texts; critical thinking; constructive oral engagement; essay writing an enhanced verbal and written communication skills.
KeywordsComputational Paradigm,Mental Content,Physicalism,Problem of Consciousness
Course organiserDr Paul Schweizer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2704
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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