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Philosophy of Mind

This online course provides an introduction to philosophy of mind by introducing participants to the mind-body problem, one of the most intractable problems in philosophy.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : General/Others

Function : General

Trainer name : Ms Rachel Paine

Starts on : 22nd Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

The philosophy of mind is one of the most exciting areas within philosophy. It is concerned with questions about the nature of mind and the relation between our minds and the physical world. This online course provides an introduction to philosophy of mind by introducing participants to the mind-body problem, one of the most intractable problems in philosophy. 

Students will be guided through their reading of various classical and contemporary works on the mind-body problem, and encouraged to think for themselves about the problems addressed. They will engage in various optional activities to stimulate personal reflection, and will contribute to group discussions designed to create a supportive online community with the common task of acquiring an understanding. By the end of the course students should feel confident of their own position on the mind-body problem – even if it is one of not having made up their mind!

Course aims

This course aims to introduce students to philosophy of mind and in particular to the problem of the relation between the mind and the body, by:

  • guiding them through a number of classical and contemporary readings;
  • helping them to think for themselves about these important but difficult issues.

Course Objectives

This course will:

  • introduce students to philosophical thinking;
  • guide students’ reading through a number of classical and contemporary papers;
  • help participants understand the mind-body problem;
  • familiarise students with the key arguments for and against the main positions in the debate about the mind-body problem;
  • enable students to think for themselves about the issues involved in the mind-body problem.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts
  • Group discussions of particular issues
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders
  • Debating from positions given rather than from personal belief (to hone skills of debate)

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will have gained the following skills:

  • the ability to think philosophically
  • the ability to describe the main arguments for and against the main positions in the mind-body debate
  • the ability constructively to criticise the arguments of philosophers
  • the ability to explicate their own view on the mind-body problem

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following paperback book: 

  • Chalmers, David J., (Editor), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings (OUP, New York, 2002) ISBN 019514581X
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Course Content

The areas you will cover in this course are, Units:

  • Introduction 
  • Cartesian dualism
  • Type-identity theory
  • Functionalism
  • Anomalous monism
  • Reading week
  • Eliminativism
  • Epiphenomenalism
  • Externalism
  • Making up your mind

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