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Unit information: Philosophy of Psychology in 2021/22

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. Jones
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 will be able to:

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

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

(3) assess critically the philosophical implications of the major theories and hypotheses about the structure and nature of the mind offered by experimental psychology

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

Teaching Information

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

Assessment Information

FORMATIVE: Digital Presentation (ILOs 1-4) + SUMMATIVE: 4,500 word essay - 100% (ILOs 1-4)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHIL30077).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.