This course introduces some central topics in the philosophy of mind. We think, reason, perceive, feel and so on, but how does our thinking, reasoning (etc.) relate to the fact that we have physical bodies and are part of the physical world? Are our thoughts identical to brain states or are they different sorts of things?
The first part of the course will investigate the ‘mind–body problem’, critically assessing answers to this problem including Cartesian dualism, behaviourism, materialism and functionalism. The second part of the course will investigate advanced topics in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology, dealing with questions such as: Is the mind a computer; is thought computation? Does the mind have different modules (e.g. a language module, a moral module)…? Are our mental states located completely inside our heads or do they extend into the world? How can we have thoughts that are about things in the world?
The course aims to give students an understanding of the central questions, concepts and arguments in the philosophy of mind.
Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:
the main positions on the mind-body problem, and the main arguments for and against these positions;
the key concepts involved in the study of consciousness, mental content, the computational/representational theory of mind, connectionism, the modularity of mind, theory of mind/simulation theory and embodied cognition, and the main positions and arguments relating to these topics.
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
critically analyse recent literature in the fields spanned by the course: this includes primary philosophical literature and also relevant research in psychology and cognitive science;
defend well-reasoned positions on the questions covered in the course in writing, and in-class discussions.
Mode of instruction
- Lectures with time left over for discussion
Total course load (5 EC): 140 hours
Attending lectures (14 × 3 hours): 42 hours
Reading (14 × 4 hours): 56 hours
Midterm exam preparation: 18 hours
Final exam preparation: 18 hours
Midterm and Final Exam: 2 × 3 = 6 hours
Mid term exam with essay questions (50%)
Final exam with essay questions. (50%)
One resit will be offered, covering the entire course content. Any student who did not take the first examinations (mid-term and final) cannot take the resit.
The reading lists, course objectives and additional course materials (and some of the readings) will be made available through Blackboard.
Braddon-Mitchell, D. and F. Jackson, F. (2007). The Philosophy of Mind and Cognition. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers.
Other readings will be announced/made available at the start of the course.
Exchange students and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs