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

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science (Online) (PHIL11130)

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)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines how the mind fits into the physical world. This is one of the central issues in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and we will address it by examining some of the following questions:

- How do our everyday explanations of behaviour, e.g. Asha walked to the shops because she needed to buy bread, relate to neurological explanations of that same behaviour, e.g. Asha walked to the shops because of activity in her motor cortex?
- Does the mind work like a computer?
- Where is my mind? Is it in the head or can it extend beyond my skull and into the world?
- What is innate knowledge and do we have any?
- What is the nature of introspection?

These issues bring together traditional concerns from the philosophy of mind and findings from psychology and neuroscience, and we will draw on a variety of sources in exploring possible answers to these questions.

Please note auditing is not allowed on this course. Students must only take for credit.
Course description Syllabus

Personal and Sub-personal explanations
Week 1: Introduction and functionalism - Synchronous seminar
Week 2: Non-reductive materialism - Synchronous seminar
Week 3: Eliminative materialism - Asynchronous forum seminar

Psychological explanations
Week 4: Mechanistic explanation - Synchronous seminar
Week 5: The language of thought hypothesis - Asynchronous forum seminar
Week 6: Tacit theories - Synchronous seminar

Cognitive architecture
Week 7: The extended mind - Asynchronous forum seminar
Week 8: The modular mind - Synchronous seminar
Week 9: The embodied mind - Asynchronous forum seminar
Week 10: Against the computational mind - Synchronous seminar
Week 11: Review - Asynchronous forum seminar

This may be subject to change.
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:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 16/09/2019
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will be assessed by a mid-term 2000 word essay (30%), a 2500 word essay at the end of the semester (60%) and successful participation in the on-line activities associated with the course (10%). How the participation component will be assessed will be made clear to the students at the start of the course.
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. grasp fundamental issues in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, e.g. non-reductive materialism, eliminative materialism, varieties of functionalism, the extended mind hypothesis, tacit theories, nativism.
  2. critically analyse and engage with literature by key philosophers in this field.
  3. understand how empirical work can support philosophical arguments, and be able to use empirical data in their essays and arguments.
  4. present arguments clearly and concisely both within a classroom context and in a 2,500 word essay.
  5. gain transferable skills in research, analysis and argumentation
Reading List
Available through Talis aspire
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students can develop their ability for independent learning through online resources.
Additional Class Delivery Information Priority for this course will be given to online Epistemology, Ethics and Mind students. Students on any other programme must obtain permission to enrol from the Programme Director.
KeywordsPhilosophy of mind; Cognitive Science
Course organiserDr Indrek Reiland
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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