PH228      Half Unit
Emotion, Cognition and Behaviour: Science and Policy

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr John Wigglesworth


This course is available on the BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course introduces some of the key issues in the philosophy of emotion and cognition, cutting across the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. The course is divided into three parts. The first part examines the use of computer models and Artificial Intelligence as a framework for analysing fundamental ideas about the nature of intelligence and cognition. The questions discussed include: What is the relationship between the body and mind? What is the nature of consciousness and what is its relationship to the brain? Is it possible for an artificial system to have consciousness? The second part covers various issues in human cognition. These may include: theories of emotion, theories of intentionality, decision making, rationality and irrationality, pathologies such as delusion, self-deception, and weakness of will, and differences between human and animal cognition. The third part explores the moral concerns and policy implications of these topics. Particular attention will be given to questions like: What role do emotions play in moral reasoning? How do mental conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder complicate the perceived connections between free will and moral responsibility? How do certain classifications and definitions of mental disorder affect policy decisions?


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT.

Formative coursework

One formative essay and comments on a draft of the assessed essay.

Indicative reading

Adler, Jonathan and Rips, Lance. Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Clarke, Andy. Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Churchland, Paul. Matter and Consciousness, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988. Cooper, Rachel. Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science, London: Acumen, 2007. Prinz, Jesse. Emotion: Competing theories and philosophical issues. In: Thagard, Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science, 2007. Searle, John. Minds, brains and programs. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 1980. Thagard, Paul (ed). Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Amsterdam: North Holland, 2006. Turing, Alan. Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind 49, 1950.


Exam (67%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (33%, 1500 words).

Key facts

Department: Philosophy

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information