PHIL20640 Philosophy of Mind

Academic Year 2022/2023

What is the nature of the mind? How are thought and consciousness related to one's brain and body, and to the objects one thinks about and imagines? These are central questions in the philosophy of mind, and this course will provide an introduction to 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 William James's 'Does Consciousness Exist?' & Bertrand Russell's 'neutral monism'; Gilbert Ryle & 'logical behaviourism'; the 'mind-brain identity theory' & the rise of scientific naturalism and materialism; functionalism and cognitive science. Key questions will concern the nature of consciousness: Can we explain 'what it's like' to be conscious? Can we do so 'from the outside'? And the nature of intentionality: What enables our thoughts to have 'content' or be 'about the world'? Can such phenomena be scientifically explained or 'naturalized'? Or are other philosophers right that this will never be possible? The module will aim to help you think about your own take on these classic 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
Examination: Final examination during the normal UCD exam hall period. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Essay: 1500--2000 word 'must pass' essay. (Due date mid-semester, to be determined.) Unspecified n/a Graded Yes


Continuous Assessment: A combination of multiple factors, not a strict calculation, includes overall engagement with the module, e.g. attendance at tutorials & lectures, participation, & any other short assignments or quiz. Varies over the Trimester 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, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 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
Tutorial Offering 4 Week(s) - 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 Tues 16:00 - 16:50