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Philosophy of Mind


Admission requirements



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?

Course objectives

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.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2014-2015, BA Wijsbegeerte (Plus-traject or Standaardtraject), tweede jaar.
See Timetables Philosophy 2014-2015 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures with time left over for discussion

Course Load

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

Assessment method

  • 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.

Reading list

  • 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.


Please register for this course on uSis.
See Inschrijven voor cursussen en tentamens

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the collegerooster in the column under the heading “”.

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

Registration Contractonderwijs
Registration Studeren à la carte


Dr. M. Plug