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Level 5

5AAN5000 Neuroscience & the Mind


Credit value: 30
Module tutors: Dr Ellen Fridland


  • Summative assessment: one three-hour exam in May (60%, two x 1,500 word essays (30%) & weekly reading cards (10%)
  • Formative assessment: two x 1000 word essays in preparation for Summative Essays, two x 500 word essays in preparation for the Final Exam

Teaching pattern: weekly 60 minute lecture and 60 minute seminar
Sample syllabus: Please see the Past syllabi section below for an indication of the syllabus for this module.

NB This module is only available to students for medical students following the BSc in Neuroscience, or other undergraduate courses in the Health Schools.

This course will encourage students to think critically about the relationship between neuroscience and the philosophy of mind.  Students will be challenged to draw connections between empirical findings and both traditional philosophical questions and theoretical questions within the brain sciences. We will focus on evidence that illuminates and challenges our pre-theoretic notions of the mind and findings that fall short of their claims to shed light on such notions.  

Further information

Module aims

The course aims to provide students who are attaining a grounding in neuroscience with an introduction to some of the main areas of the philosophy of mind and psychology to which neuroscience is related.

Most importantly, in this course, students will learn to think critically, argue clearly, and write effectively.  The course content is neuroscience and philosophy but the skills that students will develop are of general value.

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to describe and discuss philosophical approaches to a variety of topics raised in contemporary debates about the mind and be able to appreciate the significance of neuroscientific and psychological approaches to understanding these problems. Additionally, students will learn to identify and construct philosophical arguments, assess philosophical arguments for validity and soundness, and gain an understanding of the relationship between particular empirical findings in neuroscience and relevant philosophical questions.

Past syllabi

5AAN5000 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
5AAN5000 module syllabus 2013-14 (pdf)
5AAN5000 reading list 2013-14 (pdf)
5AAN5000 module syllabus 2014-15  (pdf)
5AAN5000 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

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

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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 between years.

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