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Study information

Current Issues in Mind and Cognition

Module titleCurrent Issues in Mind and Cognition
Module codePHLM007
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Tom Roberts (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will explore issues at the forefront of current research on mind and cognition. The module will introduce you to recent developments in the philosophical literature on topics such as perception, emotion, and subjectivity. In doing so, you will consider the varied research methods undertaken by current researchers in the field; reflect upon the interplay between philosophy, psychology, and the cognitive and affective sciences; and explore how recent philosophical work engages with the history of the discipline. The module will be taught by staff who are research active in the field, and may draw on Exeter’s strength in embodied, situated, and extended approaches to the study of the mind, which treat mental phenomena as essentially supported and transformed by the thinking subject’s active engagement with the material and cultural environment. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will learn about current approaches to long-standing problems in the philosophy of mind, including questions concerning the nature of perception, cognition, and emotion, and come to understand the conceptual and theoretical frameworks that underpin competing answers to these problems. You will examine how the philosophy of mind is informed by, and informs, the sciences of the mind, and learn to evaluate recent work in the field and to articulate your own ideas with precision and clarity. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Understand a range of different current research topics in the philosophy of mind
  • 2. Analyse and evaluate current research methods in a rigorous, informed and critical way
  • 3. Learn how philosophical research is informed by, and informs, the empirical study of the mind

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Appreciate the ways in which philosophical topics are situated in a social and scientific context
  • 5. Critically and rigorously evaluate a range of different philosophical styles and approaches
  • 6. Reflect critically upon the relationship between philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Engage in complex arguments verbally and in small groups
  • 8. Critically engage with written texts in a clear and rigorous way
  • 9. Present complex ideas to peers and respond to questions in a clear and respectful manner

Syllabus plan

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

  • Perception and the senses
  • Phenomenology
  • The philosophy of psychology and psychiatry
  • Emotion & affectivity
  • The metaphysics of mind

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 hour seminars.
Guided Independent Study6611 x 6 hours for seminar readings
Guided Independent Study12Preparation of seminar presentation
Guided Independent Study100Reading for and writing of essay 1
Guided Independent Study100Reading for and writing of essay 2

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar presentation, individually or in pairs. 10 minutes1-9Written

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
Essay 1503,250 words1-9Written
Essay 2503,250 words1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 1Essay 1 (3,250 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period
Essay 2 Essay 2 (3,250 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic Resources:

Aydede, M. (2009) ‘Is Feeling Pain the Perception of Something?’, Journal of Philosophy 106(10):531-567

Clark, A. (2013) ‘Whatever Next? Predictive Brains, Situated Agents, and the Future of Cognitive Science’, Behavioural and Brain Sciences 36(3):181-204;

Gunn, R. (2016) ‘On Thought Insertion’, Review of Philosophy and Psychology , 7(3):559-575

Matthen, M. (2015) ‘Play, Skill, and the Origins of Perceptual Art’, British Journal of Aesthetics 55(2):173-197

Mcneill, W. (2015) ‘The Visual Role of Objects’ Facing Surfaces’, Philosophy & Phenomenological Research , 92(2):411-431

Taylor, E. (2016) ‘Explanation and the Explanatory Gap’, Acta Analytica 31(1):77-88


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date