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Unit information: Philosophy of Psychology in 2024/25

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Philosophy of Psychology
Unit code PHILM0020
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jones
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

This unit focuses on philosophical issues raised on contemporary work in psychology, topics to be covered might include:

  • What is a mind, and how is it organized?
  • In what sense is thought representational? Do thoughts have a linguistic structure?
  • Which of our cognitive capacities are innate and which are learned?
  • Is the brain organized around a set of rigid, anatomically localized functions, or is it hugely malleable?
  • What is the role of the emotions in our cognition?
  • Does cognition happen solely in the brain? Or do cognitive processes crucially involve the body, and maybe even the environment?


The aim of the course is to provide students with an introduction to some central topics in philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology including the topics of intentionality, cognitive architecture of thought, the nature of emotion, and the location of cognition.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have acquired knowledge and understanding of core issues in philosophy of psychology. Have acquired knowledge and understanding of the bearing of psychological theories on traditional philosophical issues. Have acquired knowledge and understanding of foundational and methodological problems in contemporary psychology.
  2. Be able to conduct independent research into a new topic, using online and library resources. Be able to analyze and understand difficult philosophical texts. Be able to write clear academic prose.

How you will learn

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

How you will be assessed

Summative Assessment: One essay of up to 6,000 words (excluding bibliography) - 100%


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. PHILM0020).

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.