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Module descriptions

7AAN2067 Philosophy of Psychology II

Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Prof David Papineau


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 2,000-3,000-word essay


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 3,000-word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks
Pre-requisites: none
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2067 modules syllabus 2016-17.

Additional information: 

    • (Normally) compulsory for students in the MA Philosophy of Psychology programme.
    • Also available as an option for students in the other MA programmes, who might wish to take it in conjunction with 7AAN2066 Philosophy of Psychology I in the first semester, but need not do so.

This module will look at the significance of three basic issues for psychological theorising: representation, consciousness, and evolution. On representation, the aim will be to understand how representational notions make a distinctive contribution to psychological explanation; on on consciousness, to identify which cognitive processes are conscious and what difference this makes; and on evolution, to consider whether evolutionary considerations have any implications for the general structure of the human mind.     

Further information

Module aims

This module aims to provide student with an understanding of a selection of debates on the following (and related) topics:

  • the nature of emotions
  • the nature of moral and political cognition
  • the nature of religious cognition
  • cognitive architecture and the modularity of mind
  • philosophical and evolutionary psychology
  • the nature of cultural processes and cultural cognition
  • philosophical issues in developmental and social psychology
  • philosophical issues in cognitive neuroscience
  • philosophical issues in the social science and behavioural economics
  • innateness, human nature and nativism
  • philosophical issues in psychiatry
  • folk-psychology and scientific psychology
  • mental content and informational content
  • the self, consciousness, self conceptions
  • the nature of action, intention, and decision making
  • the nature of perception
  • the nature of aesthetic cognition
  • psychological kinds, sociological kinds, human kinds
  • psychological research on happiness and wellbeing
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a level-7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate that they have the ability:

  • to think critically about some of the conceptual issues raised by the study of the mind
  • to read closely and gain an understanding of relevant texts;
  • to summarize arguments and positions
  • to support and challenge views and positions by constructing arguments and citing relevant considerations
  • to relate the issues and ideas under discussion to the work of philosophers and theories studied in other modules
  • to form philosophical views of their own which they are prepared to defend or amend in the light of criticism
Past syllabi

7AAN2067 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
7AAN2067 module syllabus 2013-14 (pdf)
7AAN2067 module syllabus 2014-15 
7AAN2067 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

More detailed information on the current year’s module (including the syllabus for that year) can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

Core reading

David Papineau 2002 ‘Naturalist Theories of Meaning’ in Ernest Lepore and Barry C. Smith eds The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

Uriah Kriegel 2006 ‘Consciousness: Phenomenal Consciousness, Access Consciousness, and Scientific Practice’ in Paul Thagard ed Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science 195-217 Amsterdam: North-Holland

Stephen Downes 2014 ‘Evolutionary Psychology” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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