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Study information

The Self

Module titleThe Self
Module codePHL3038
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Joel Krueger (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module is an interdisciplinary investigation of the self. It will critically examine various models of the self (e.g., the cognitive self, the embodied self, the minimal self, the narrative self, the social self, the ecological self, etc.) found in multiple disciplines, including philosophy (both phenomenology and analytical philosophy of mind), cognitive and neuroscience, psychiatry, and meditation-based approaches (e.g., Buddhism). Questions we will explore include: Why is the self philosophically interesting? What is the nature of the self? Does the self really exist? If not, why is the sense of self so persistent? What is the relation between consciousness and self? Body and self? Self and other? What sort of knowledge can we attain about the self, and is it reliable? What can different pathologies and anomalous forms of selfexperience (e.g., schizophrenia, severe depression, Moebius Syndrome) teach us about the self?

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will contribute to the philosophy programme by introducing, discussing, and critically evaluating various conceptual and empirical issues related to the self. It will demonstrate how these issues relate to other philosophical topics such as consciousness, embodiment, social cognition, ethics, animal cognition, and religious experience. It will explore how philosophy can inform, and be informed by, scientific inquiry. Finally, it will also demonstrate how seemingly abstract philosophical questions can have concrete relevance for everyday life.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Present and discuss several philosophical and empirical models of the self
  • 2. Critically evaluate the strengths and interrelationships of these different models
  • 3. Formulate new questions based upon our consideration of these models

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Illustrate a variety of philosophical positions on a specific topic
  • 5. Critically evaluate, both orally and in writing, different philosophical positions
  • 6. Appreciate the process of formulating and evaluating different philosophical arguments
  • 7. Understand a variety of philosophical positions in relation to their sociocultural and scientific context

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Engage critically with assigned readings
  • 9. Communicate concepts and ideas clearly both orally and in writing
  • 10. Engage productively and charitably in group discussions

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • Philosophical controversies surrounding the self
  • The brain and the self
  • The embodied self
  • Developmental and experiential approaches to the self
  • Intersubjectivity and the social self
  • The disrupted self: pathological perspectives
  • The disappearing self: skeptical and meditation-based approaches

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity2211 x 2 hours per week comprising of lectures and seminars
Guided independent study36Readings for seminars and tutorials
Guided independent study10Preparation for seminar presentation
Guided independent study40Researching and writing the essay
Guided independent study40Readings and revisions for exams

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar Presentation5 minutes1-10Verbal and class feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay501,750 words1-9Written feedback
Exam501 hour1-9Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (1,750 words)1-9August/September reassessment period
ExamExam (1 hour)1-9August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Shaun Gallagher and Jonathan Shear (eds). (1999). Models of the self. Imprint Academic.

Various supplementary articles.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Key words search

Philosophy, Self

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

March 2013

Last revision date