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Philosophy of Psychology

Unit code: PHIL30361
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

Pre-requisites: 40 credits of PHIL courses at Level 2

40 PHIL credits at Level 2.


The course aims to:

- Help students to engage with some of the central problems in philosophy of psychology;
- Enhance students' power of critical analysis, reasoning and independent thought, and their ability to bring those powers to bear on important philosophical issues;
- Familiarise students with some of the most interesting and provocative texts in contemporary work on philosophy of psychology.


This course will be concerned with questions about conscious experience, theories of perception, the modularity of mind, simulation theory, and the individuation of the senses. Questions include:

Is the mind made up of task-specific modules?

Can we perceive things of which we have no conception?

How do we know what other people are thinking?

How do we distinguish visual from auditory experience?

Philosophy of psychology draws on a range of empirical results in psychology, and this course will introduce students to scientific evidence that has a bearing on these philosophical issues.

Teaching and learning methods

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

Learning outcomes

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

- Knowledge and understanding of a range of central 20th century texts on philosophy of psychology;
- Some in-depth critical knowledge of the most important modern and contemporary theories in the areas covered by the course;
- The ability to critically reflect on those theories, and to articulate and defend their own views.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 60%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 25%
  • Oral assessment/presentation - 15%

Recommended reading

George Botterill and Peter Carruthers - The Philosophy of Psychology (Cambridge University Press)

Feedback methods

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. Students are reminded that feedback 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. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

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

Study hours

  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Tutorials - 10 hours
  • Independent study hours - 170 hours

Teaching staff

Stephen Ingram - Unit coordinator

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