• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Understanding emotions is an urgent and ongoing task in philosophy and the mind sciences. Despite centuries of debate by philosophers and scientists in various cultures, significant empirical and philosophical puzzles persist. They include whether emotions constitute a natural kind or are socially constructed, whether emotions are necessarily conscious experiences and what this presupposes about the nature of mind, the relation between affect and cognition in analyses of emotions, and the role of social scaffolding in their development, expression, and regulation. Topics considered in this course will vary from year to year. The course will take a philosophical approach to theories and arguments drawn from a diverse range of literature, including materials from philosophy, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. examine and describe philosophical issues, theories, and positions relating to emotions;
  2. critically evaluate arguments about emotions in literature drawn from diverse disciplines, such as philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience, and analyse core concepts, assumptions, and implications;
  3. articulate and rigorously defend written arguments for and against positions using rationally persuasive argumentation;
  4. apply sophisticated philosophical ideas and arguments to propose well-defended solutions to fundamental problems about the nature of emotions; and
  5. engage in high-level oral discussion and debate, substantiating viewpoints with justified arguments.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Literature Analysis Task (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. First Essay (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Second Essay (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Tutorial Participation (10) [LO 1,2,5]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


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.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 24 Units of Philosophy (PHIL) Courses, or by permission of course convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be made available online through Wattle.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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