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Unit information: Philosophy of Psychology in 2014/15

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Philosophy of Psychology
Unit code PHIL30077
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Finn Spicer
Open unit status Not open

PHIL20046 Realism and Normativity



School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit focuses on philosophical issues raised on contemporary work in psychology, in particular: Rationality (expected utility theory, experimental decision theory/heuristics and biases, ecological rationality, Machiavellian inteligence); Animal minds; Mindreading and social cognition (theory vs. simulation); Cognitive architecture (modality, levels, isomorphism, classical/connectionist/dynamicist architectures); Mental causation (Davidson vs. Kim, supervenience/emergence, reduction, dualism); Evolutionary psychology, nativism, cultural evolution; Embodiment, embedding, varieties of externalism.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit, students have a clear grasp of the science of psychology and its methodological and epistemological footing; they will be able to deploy findings from psychological studies to shed new light on traditional philosophical debates about the mind and will be able to assess the philosophical implications of the major theories and hypotheses about the structure and nature of the mind offered by experimental psychology. Students should also have the ability to form their own views and provide argumentative justification for their positions.

Teaching Information

1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

3 hour exam

Reading and References

  • Cummins, D. (1995) The Other Side of Psychology. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Huber, R. J., et al (2000) Cornerstones of Psychology: Readings in the History of Psychology. Orlando: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.