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Unit information: Philosophy of Psychology in 2015/16

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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. Anya Farennikova
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Philosophy of psychology has three strands.

The first strand uses the results from psychology and cognitive science to shed light on traditional philosophical problems: for example looking at experimental investigation of our powers of introspection to illuminate the philosophical discussion of self-knowledge.

The second strand is the philosophy of science where the science in question is psychology: for example asking whether evolutionary psychology meets the standards of good science.

Third is doing cognitive science, but at a high level of generality: for example asking about the structure of the mind—whether it is modular or homogeneous.

Over the series of lectures and seminars, we look at a variety of topics that fall into one or more of these strands: nativism; modularity; folk psychology; emotions; animal cognition; the extended mind; rationality; moral psychology and delusions.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit, students:

(1) will have a clear grasp of the science of psychology and its methodological and epistemological footing;

(2) will be able to deploy findings from psychological studies to shed new light on traditional philosophical debates about the mind

(3) 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

(4) will have the ability to form their own views and provide argumentative justification for their positions, of a standard appropriate to level H/6.

Teaching Information

1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

Formative: one 2500 word essay designed to test the intended learning outcomes.

Summative: one 3-hour unseen exam designed to test the intended learning outcomes.

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.