• Class Number 7352
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Justin Mendelow
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course offers an advanced approach to philosophy and is suitable for students who have a strong background in philosophy. What is taught will change from year to year.

In 2023, PHIL3074 will focus on The Problems of Consciousness

The existence of consciousness poses one of the most pervasive puzzles in philosophy. The fact that we are conscious seems undeniable. Whether it be pangs of pain, feelings of love or the visual experience of a sunset, consciousness pervades our everyday life. Despite the ubiquity of conscious experiences, philosophers and scientists alike have faced a number of difficult challenges investigating the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the world around us. The aim of this unit will be to explore a number of these challenges and the proposed solutions to them. The unit will cover three major themes in the philosophy of consciousness. The first theme will explore foundational questions about the nature of consciousness. We will address questions such as what is consciousness, which mental states are conscious and how mental states become conscious. The second theme will critically investigate the infamous compatibility problem between consciousness and the physical world. This will include questions such as whether there is a viable physical explanation of consciousness, whether conscious is an illusion and whether consciousness is a fundamental ingredient of our world. The third and final theme will explore recent developments in the scientific and normative study of consciousness. We will address topics such as how we study animal consciousness, the relationship between dreaming and consciousness, whether artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT could ever be conscious and whether consciousness itself makes life worth living.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand and articulate the material covered in the course;
  2. argue for a philosophical position related to the material covered in the course; and
  3. display critical thinking skills in writing research papers in philosophy.

There are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments on essays.
  • Verbal feedback during tutorials and lectures.
  • Individual feedback during office hours.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction and the historical mind-body problem Tutorial participation and presentations ongoing throughout the semester
2 What is phenomenal consciousness?
3 Cognitive phenomenology: Is there something it is like to have a thought?
4 Representational theories of consciousness
5 Consciousness and physicalism: The knowledge argument
6 Consciousness and physicalism: The conceivability argument First essay due: Friday 1st September
7 Contemporary forms of physicalism: An illusionist account
8 Contemporary alternatives to physicalism: Russellian panpsychism
9 Animal consciousness: The dimensions and investigation of animal consciousness
10 Consciousness and dreaming: What can we learn about consciousness from dreaming?
11 Artificial consciousness: The possibility of AI consciousness
12 The value of consciousness: Does consciousness make life worth living? Second essay due: Thursday 2nd November

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage https://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/timetabling.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 10 % * 1,2
Tutorial Presentations 10 % * 1,2
First Essay 35 % 01/09/2023 1,2,3
Second Essay 45 % 02/11/2023 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial Participation

There are two main ways to get a good mark for tutorial participation in this course:

  1. Do the required readings prior to tutorials, and constructively participate in tutorial discussions over the course of the semester.
  2. Constructively participate as an audience member in student presentations.

Tutorial participation will be worth 10% of the final grade.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial Presentations

Over the course of the semester, each student will be required to present a 5 minute summary of a required reading to the tutorial group. Students will then be expected to lead tutorial discussion on the reading for a further 5 minutes. Tutorial presentations will be worth 10% of the final grade.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 01/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

First Essay

You will be required to write an essay of 1500 words in length, worth 35% of your final grade.

Due date: Friday 1st September (@11:59pm).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 02/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Second Essay

You will be required to write an essay of 2500 words in length, worth 45% of your final grade.

Due date: Thursday 2nd November (@11:59pm).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Justin Mendelow

Research Interests

Philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology of consciousness

Justin Mendelow

Wednesday 14:00 15:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions