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Study information

Mind, Body and World

Module titleMind, Body and World
Module codePHLM008
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Giovanna Colombetti (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module presents several different philosophical accounts that characterize the mind as embodied and situated in the world, rather than merely ‘brainbound’. We will look at arguments drawing from cognitive science, phenomenology, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, as well as literature on embodiment and situatedness in sociology and anthropology.

Lecturers will make reference to recent debates in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, but there are no pre-requisites for taking this module. The module is suitable for an interdisciplinary pathway that crisscrosses philosophy, cognitive science, sociology, and anthropology. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will learn about different views of the relationship between mind, body, and world, and become familiar with a variety of arguments defending different accounts of this relationship. You will discuss primarily philosophical works, but also read sociological and anthropological accounts relevant to understanding the relation between mind, body, and world. You will have the opportunity to engage with very recent research on this topic, including your lecturers’ own current research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. systematically illustrate several different views of the relation between mind and world;
  • 2. analyze and evaluate these views in a rigorous, informed, and critical way;
  • 3. develop your own perspective and arguments about the relation between mind and world, in a rigorous way;
  • 4. evaluate the role of sociological and anthropological accounts for the philosophical debate;
  • 5. formulate original questions that emerge when one considers how the mind relates to the world.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. systematically illustrate a variety of philosophical positions on a specific topic;
  • 7. critically and rigorously evaluate, orally and in writing, several philosophical positions;
  • 8. appreciate the challenges of providing a philosophical analysis of a variety of issues, as well as the uncertainty and limits of knowledge
  • 9. understand a variety of philosophical positions in relation to their social and scientific context.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. engage in complex arguments verbally and in small groups;
  • 11. critically engage with and report accurately on existing written material;
  • 12. present complex ideas to peers in a clear way and so as to generate discussion;
  • 13. respond to peers’ questions in a clear and respectful way.

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:

  • Internalism: the mind in the head
  • The 4E approach to cognition: cognition as embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended
  • The affective dimension of the mind
  • Embodiment, experience and incorporation
  • Group cognition and group emotions

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 (mixture of student presentations, discussion, and lecturer’s explanations)
Guided Independent Study10Time preparing for the short formative essay
Guided Independent Study68Time for doing the weekly readings
Guided Independent Study40Time for preparing the lecture-style presentation
Guided Independent Study70Time for preparing the first summative essay
Guided Independent Study90Time for preparing the second summative essay

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short essay500 words1-12Written

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
Individual lecture-style presentation in front of class2020 + 10 minutes Q&A session1-13Verbal
Essay 1301,800 words1-12Written
Essay 2503,000 words1-12Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual lecture-style presentation in front of class20 + 10 minutes Q&A session with lecturer (viva-voce, face-to-face or virtually)1-13August/September re-assessment period
Essay 1 Essay (1,800 words)1-12August/September re-assessment period
Essay 2Essay (3,000 words)1-12August/September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Clark, A. (1997). Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again . Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Menary, R. (ed.) (2010). The Extended Mind . Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Robbins, P. & Aydede, M. (2009). The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition . Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press.  

Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience . Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Key words search

cognition; body; emotion; embodied cognition; situated cognition; 4E cognition; extended mind

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date