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Philosophy of a Specific Discipline: Philosophy of Psychology

With effect from September 2012 the name of this master’s programme will be
MA Philosophy (120 EC): Philosophy of Psychology. description

Philosophy of Psychology is a specialisation of the MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline. For information about the objectives and general structure of the programme, the MA thesis and the requirements for graduation, please see MA in Philosophy of Specific Discipline . For a brief description of this specialisation click on ‘Meer info/More Info’ below.

Structure of the programme

The programme consists of five components:

  • 40 EC / MA courses in the chosen discipline outside philosophy (Psychology)

  • 20 EC / 2 Specialist MA courses in Philosophy of Psychology

  • 30 EC / 3 MA courses in Philosophy (to be chosen from the selected courses listed below)

  • 10 EC / Supervised literature study in the area of the master’s thesis

  • 20 EC / Master’s thesis

The structure of the two-year programme is presented below. The subjects of the philosophy seminars are varying yearly. Please note that the sequence of the various components of individual programmes may deviate from the structure proposed due to the availability of courses in a particular semester, or to the extent to which the non-philosophical part of the programme has already been completed. However, the two specialist courses are compulsory, and students must take one specialist course each year. The master’s thesis will be the final part of the programme. Students are requested to discuss their programme with their tutor before the start of their first semester.

First Year

  • 30 EC / Courses in the chosen discipline outside philosophy (Psychology)

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Psychology

  • 20 EC / 2 MA courses in Philosophy

Second Year

  • 10 EC / MA courses in chosen discipline outside philosophy (Psychology)

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Psychology

  • 10 EC / MA course in Philosophy

  • 10 EC / Supervised literature study in the area of the MA thesis

  • 20 EC / MA thesis

First/Second Year

In 2011-2012 the following philosophy courses are on offer for the specialisation Philosophy of Psychology. (For courses on offer in the chosen discipline please see the programmes of the discipline concerned.)

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Psychology

In total, students take two specialist courses, one course in year 1 and one course in year 2.

Philosophy of Psychology: Philosophy of Mind 10

MA courses in Philosophy

In total, students take three MA courses in Philosophy, two courses in year 1 and one course in year 2.

Introduction to Kant: Metaphysics, Epistemology and the Problem of Freedom 10
Aristotle's De anima in the Middle Ages: A History of the Mind–Body Problem(s) 10
Philosophy and Science of Free Will 10
Hobbesian Moral Psychology 10
Metaphysics, 21st-century style 10
Theories of Judgement 10
Philosophy of Social Sciences: Methodological Questions 10
Schelling over vrijheid 10

Supervised literature study in the area of the master's thesis

Literature Study (Philosophy) 10

MA Thesis

MA Thesis (Philosophy of a Specific Discipline) 20

Meer 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