PHI332 - Philosophy of Psychology

This course provides an in-depth look at a selection of issues in contemporary philosophy of psychology. Philosophy pf psychology is concerned with such questions as : What is the structure and organisation of the human mind? Is the mind one big homogenous thing, or is it made up of smaller interacting components? If it has components, what sort are they and how are they interrelated? What aspects of our minds are uniquely, or distinctively human? What is the cognitive basis for such capacities as our capacity for language, rationality, science, mathematics, cultural artefacts, altruism, cooperation, war, morality and art? To what extent are the concepts, rules, biases, and cognitive processes that we possess universal features of all human beings and to what extent are they culturally (or otherwise) variable? Do infants (non-human) animals, and individuals with cognitive deficits have minds, and if so, what are they like? To what extent are these capacities learned as opposed to innately given? How important is evolutionary theory to the study of the mind? What is the Self? What are concepts? Is all thought conceptual? Is all thought conscious? What is consciousness? This course will discuss a selection of these and related issues by looking at the work of philosophers, psychologists, and others working within the cognitive sciences more generally.

Preparatory reading

Students who have not taken the Philosophy of Mind course in their second year may find it helpful to read a textbook on the Philosophy of Mind as background (eg Crane, The Mechanical Mind; Kim, The Philosophy of Mind, Ravenscroft, Philosophy of Mind: A Beginner's Guide).                                                                      

Advised previous modules:

Philosophy of Mind or the Empiricists.


One coursework essay (50%) and one exam (50%); or one long essay (100%). 


Stephen Laurence