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Philosophy of a Specific Discipline: Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy of Psychology is a specialisation of the MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline. The two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline is intended for students in a particular academic discipline who are interested in the philosophical foundations and methodological aspects of that discipline.

For information about the objectives and general structure of the programme, the MA thesis and the requirements for graduation, please see the website of the MA in Philosophy of Specific Discipline. For a brief description of this specialisation click on ‘Informatie’ above.

Structure of the programme

First Year

  • 10 EC / MA course in Philosophy

  • 10 EC / MA course in Philosophy

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Psychology

  • 30 EC / MA courses in Psychology

Second Year

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Psychology

  • 10 EC / MA courses in Psychology

  • 10 EC / Literature Study in the area of the MA thesis

  • 30 EC / MA thesis

First Year / Second Year

The following MA courses in Philosophy and specialist MA courses in Philosophy of Psychology are on offer in 2010-2011:

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialist courses in Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy of Psychology I: Natural History of Mind I 10
Philosophy of Psychology II: Natural History of Mind II 10

MA courses in Philosophy

The Vienna Circle and Logical Positivism 10
The Problem of Objectivity in History 10
Science and Humanities in the Ancient Philosophical Curriculum 10
Filosofie en literatuur II (HPS) 10
Rechtvaardigheid en macht: 16e-eeuwse politieke theorieën 10
Reasonable Disagreement 10
Nietzsche and Politics (EP) 10
Wijsgerige antropologie III 10
De revolutie in de kunst 10
Scientific Revolution 10
Language and the Mind 10
Filosofie, psychiatrie en neurowetenschappen 10
Contemporary Utilitarianism 10
Philosophy of Mind and Action 10
Filosofie van het internationale recht 10
Wijsgerige antropologie IV 10
Wikisofie 10

More info


The specialisation Philosophy of Psychology has yearly courses (seminars, tutorials, and supervised reading) on key problems in the foundations of psychology and cognitive science. Discussions typically concentrate on metaphysics (nature of the mind, consciousness, supervenience, constructivism, eliminativism), epistemology (perception and cognition, mental content, embodied cognition), and methodology (reduction, explanation, classical vs. neurocomputational approaches).

Although the problems targeted for discussion are traditional, they are addressed from a novel point of view which emphasizes the natural history of the mind. Assuming that the human mind is subject to historical development (as is now becoming increasingly plausible from work in evolutionary psychology, historical psychology, cognitive archaeology, and related disciplines), then a reconsideration of the ‘traditional’ problems and the ‘received’ solutions seems to be called for. Questions about the mind are traditionally raised and answered in an essentialist and a-historic vein. What are the consequences of adding a historical dimension to the problem field?

Specialisation co-ordinator

Dr. J.J.M. (Jan) Sleutels