• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Neuroscience

Debates concerning the nature of mind and consciousness are active and ongoing, with implications for philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence and the neurosciences. It is difficult to understand how minds fit into the physical world and interact with material things. It is hard to explain how minds are capable of representing the world. And it is a deep mystery how conscious experience relates to our bodies and brains. This course will take a philosophical approach to these questions, exploring some of the metaphysical and conceptual issues that underlie psychological and neuroscientific explanations. We will begin by grappling with the Mind/Body problem via discussion of dualism, mind-body identity, functionalism, computationalism and connectionism. We will consider the frame problem and embodied cognition as well as issues concerning mental representation. We will examine the hard problem of consciousness and its central arguments. We will also consider the nature of reductive or mechanistic explanation and how they might bear on the nature and possibilities of free will.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Understand and articulate some of the prominent issues in philosophy of mind.
  2. Analyse and critically evaluate theories, arguments and presuppositions of prominent figures in philosophy of mind.
  3. Argue for a philosophical position related to the material covered in the course.
  4. Engage in philosophical discussion and debate, verbalise  interpretations and criticisms of the various ideas discussed throughout the course.

Indicative Assessment

Two Essays 2000 words each (40% each for a total of 80%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3)
Reading Response Journal, total 1000 words (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2)
Tutorial Participation (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4)

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

6 units of Philosophy (PHIL) courses, or with permission of the course convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Any relevant materials will be outlined on the Wattle site.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8951 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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