PHIL40010 Consciousness, Agency & the Self

Academic Year 2020/2021

This course covers central issues in the philosophy of mind and action. We begin with a brief overview of the main positions on the mind-body problem: dualism, physicalism, and functionalism. Then we turn to questions and theories about consciousness: the "hard problem" of consciousness, philosophical theories, scientific theories, conscious agency and free will. In the final part we turn to the notion of the self. We consider accounts of the "minimal self" and the "narrative self". We investigate the role of the self in agency, and we look at Eastern views on the self and consciousness.

As part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID19 and in order to facilitate distance learning, all seminars will be conducted online. We meet in the Virtual Classroom on Brightspace.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this course will have (1) a good grasp of central issues in the philosophy of mind and action (2) engaged critically with some of the most important views and arguments in those areas, and (3) developed independent arguments and views on some of the issues discussed.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Seminar format and class participation. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Exclusions:

This course is suitable for students with no background in philosophy of mind.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Presentation: Class presentations Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: 3000 words Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Reading questions Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Mr Robert Foley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Mon 15:00 - 15:50