PHIL20640 Philosophy of Mind

Academic Year 2023/2024

What is the nature of the mind? How are thought and consciousness related to one's brain and body, and to the objects that one perceives, thinks about, or imagines? These are central questions in the philosophy of mind, and this course will provide an introduction to some of the main topics, theories, and arguments in this field.

We will look at traditional answers ranging from classical mind–body (or ‘soul'–body) dualism to a wide variety of 20th & 21st century positions. Possible selections include: mind–brain identity theory, global and local supervenience theories, functionalism, epiphenomenalism, and neutral monism. Key questions will concern the nature of consciousness: Can we explain 'what it is like' to be conscious? And if so, can we do so 'from the outside'? And on the nature of sensory perception: What enables us to perceive or think about the world? Do we do so directly or via some intermediary, such as a mental representation or sense-data? And on what grounds can we decide the answers to such questions? The module will aim to help you develop your own views on these classic and fundamental questions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this course will (1) have a good grasp of the central issues in the contemporary philosophy of mind, (2) have engaged critically with the most important views and arguments in this area, and (3) have developed some independent thoughts and arguments on some of those issues.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, tutorials, and class participation. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Submission of short discussion questions prior to tutorials, plus other short assignments, quizzes, etc. Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Examination: Final examination during the normal UCD exam hall period (two essay-style questions in total). 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Essay: 1,500 word mid-trimester essay. Week 7 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 Mon 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 Mon 16:00 - 16:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 Tues 15:00 - 15:50