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Philosophy of Mind and Action


Admission requirements

BA in Philosophy, or a comparable level of knowledge.


What causes human behaviour: the body or the mind? We think that our actions result from conscious choices. But science tells us that movements are caused by states in the brain. How, then, is the body related to the mind? The philosophy of mind and the philosophy of action are closely linked. How one thinks about the human mind affects how one thinks about human behaviour, and vice versa. This course covers selected issues in both disciplines that are especially relevant to bridging the gap between the conscious mind and bodily movement. Some parts of the course focus on the metaphysics of mind and agency, others take into account recent findings in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Topics include: the mind-body problem, mental causation, agent causation, mind-reading, action understanding, conscious and automatic control of behaviour, the sense of agency, and free will.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


See Timetables Master’s Programmes 2010-2011

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Assessment is primarily based on research papers.

  • Active participation and class-presentations may have a bearing on the final mark.



Reading list

A list of seminar readings will be made available.


Please register for this course on uSis. See registration procedure

Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Dr. M. Schlosser:


Specialisation: Ethics and Politics