PP2MIN-Philosophy of Mind

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr James Stazicker

Email: j.stazicker@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module looks at how we should understand the mind and its place in the natural order of things.

To give a detailed critical exploration of some of the major positions and ideas in the philosophy of mind.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, the student will have mastered key notions and doctrines from recent philosophy of mind, as well as becoming aware of the development of ideas throughout the history of this topic. They will be able to characterize the main problems in this area, such as the problems of intentionality and sensation, and discuss a range of answers to them, such as behaviourism, functionalism, and identity theories.

Additional outcomes:
Students will gain an overview of some paradigmatic theories of modern philosophy and address some key issues which resurface throughout the subject. The ideas to be discussed will contribute to their further studies in areas such as epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and ethics. Students will also gain skills in the analysis of arguments and key texts, together with the oral presentation and defence of their views in seminars.

Outline content:
Topics covered will include some, but not all, of the following:
- Cartesian Dualism
- Mind and brain (identity theory, eliminative materialism)
- Mind and behaviour (behaviourism, functionalism)
- Consciousness
- Artificial intelligence
- The problem of other minds
- Understanding and intentionality
- Thinking
- Sensory perception
- Mind and action
- Externalism about the mind

Sample reading list:
Daniel Dennett, ‘True believers, the intentional strategy and why it works’, in A. F. Heath (ed.), Scientific Explanation, Clarendon Press, 1981.
Frank Jackson, 'What Mary didn't know', Journal of Philosophy 1986, 83: 291-5.
Thomas Nagel, ‘What is it like to be a bat?’, Philosophical Review 1974, 83: 435-50.
Bertrand Russell, ‘Analogy’, in Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits, Simon and Schuster, 1948.
John Searle, ‘Minds, brains and programs’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1980, 3:417-57.

Preparatory vacation reading:
Tim Crane, The Mechanical Mind: A philosophical introduction to minds, machines and mental representation, Penguin Books, 1995.
David Chalmers, Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary and Classical Readings, OUP, 2002.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The format for this module contains a mix of lectures and seminars. Students are encouraged to be active in all parts of the course, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Two essays of 1500-2000 words each, making up a total of 30% of the module mark.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard

Formative assessment methods:
Short written assignment, without summative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    The final exam will be two hours in which time you will be required to answer two questions from a choice of six.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 9 January 2017

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