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BAEcon Economics and Finance

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind

Unit code PHIL10631
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course explores philosophical issues about the nature of mind and mentality. Are mental states physical states of the brain? Are they states of an immaterial mind or soul? Or are they something else altogether? We will examine the chief metaphysical theories of the nature of mind: dualism, behaviourism, the identity theory, functionalism, physicalism and eliminative materialism. Many mental states are also conscious. But what is consciousness? Is consciousness physical? How are mental states able to represent things? How can beliefs and desires be about something? We will explore the computational theory of mind, according to which the mind is a kind of computer – a computer that could in principle be realised synthetically as an artificial intelligence. We will also explore the nature of perception, along with some puzzles concerning how mental states can be the cause of physical effects.


This course aims to:

- Introduce some central problems concerning the relation between mind, body and the larger physical world

- Help students develop a philosophical approach to these problems, including the ability to explain, analyse and criticise arguments in the literature.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

- Introductory knowledge of some central philosophical problems in philosophy of mind.
- A clear understanding of the problems raised by the texts studied.
- A clear sense of the arguments and positions defended in the texts studied.
- The ability to respond to these positions and arguments critically and with arguments of their own.

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are only a guidance and may change.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

The main forms of feedback in this course unit are markers’ written comments on assessed essays and exam answers. The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Feedback, of course, is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work.

There are also a variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS course units. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions before, during (if appropriate) and after lecture; presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Recommended reading

Simon Blackburn, Think, chapter 2
Barbara Montero, On the Philosophy of Mind
George Graham, Philosophy of Mind. An Introduction, 2nd ed.
Sean Crawford, Aspects of Mind

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Emily Caddick Bourne Unit coordinator

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