The Philosophy of Mind

Subject PHIL20033 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1-hour lectures each week and 1x 1-hour tutorial (weeks 2-12)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

One of the following subjects is recommended but not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Laura Schroeter



Subject Overview:

This subject will cover central issues in the philosophy of mind, such as the relationship between minds and brains (e.g., dualism, behaviourism, physicalism, functionalism and eliminativism), the nature of mental states such as beliefs, desires and sensations, how mental states represent features of the world, and the relationship between the first-person perspective on oneself and the third-person scientific perspective on the mind.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • possess a broad knowledge and understanding of issues in the contemporary philosophy of mind, including an understanding of the major theories minds and mental states including dualism, behaviourism, identity theory, functionalism, eliminativism and interpretivism;
  • engage critically with existing philosophical conversations about the nature of mental states and develop the capacity for critical and creative interventions in those discussions;
  • discern the relevance of philosophical ideas about minds and mental states for practical and moral quesitons about whether which organisms or artificial systems have minds and are deserving of moral consideration;
  • come to appreciate how empirical discoveries in psychology and neuroscience can challenge our common sense understanding of mental states and our ability to know about them;
  • appreciate how issues in the philosophy of mind intersect with broader philosophical questions about metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language;
  • demonstrate a high-level of fluency in communication and collaboration skills, including oral and written presentation of arguments and effective work in small and large groups;
  • be prepared to engage with the possibility of radical critique of critique of their own suppositions and commitments about the nature of the mental.
  • Two 1000 word essays, due week 5 and week 9 (25% each)
  • A final paper of 2000 words, due in the end of semester examination period (50%)

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Philosophy
Graduate Diploma in Arts - History and Philosophy of Science
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Philosophy
History and Philosophy of Science
Philosophy Major

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