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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 AvailabilityAvailable to all 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.
Course description This course will be delivered through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, live online seminars, and online discussion forums. Pre-recorded lectures will be delivered by a range of faculty. Please direct any queries regarding any segment of the course to the Course Organiser.

Synchronous online seminars will be held fortnightly at a time to be announced. In asynchronous forum weeks, the Course Organiser will monitor forum discussions.

Personal and sub-personal explanations
Week 1: Introduction and levels of explanation
Week 2: Non-reductive materialism (synchronous seminar)
Week 3: Eliminative materialism
Psychological explanations
Week 4: Mechanistic explanations (synchronous seminar)
Week 5: The language of thought hypothesis
Week 6: Tacit theories (synchronous seminar)
Cognitive architecture
Week 7: The extended mind
Week 8: The modular mind (synchronous seminar)
Week 9: The embodied mind
Week 10: Against the computational mind (synchronous seminar)
Week 11: 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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture 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) This course has two components of assessment:
Students will be assessed by a mid-term essay (25%) and a summative essay at the end of the semester (75%).

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 summative essay.
  5. gain transferable skills in research, analysis and argumentation
Reading List
Available online:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students can develop their ability for independent learning through online resources.
Keywordsphilosophy of mind,cognitive science
Course organiserDr Jennifer Marusic
Course secretaryMrs Ida Conlin
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