Mind and World - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Assessment (30%) , Essay (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as PHI130 Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics.

The unit introduces the big philosophical questions about human nature, personal identity and the meaning of life. What is the fundamental nature of reality? Are human beings somehow unique in nature? Do we have distinct selves that endure through time? What is the relation between our identity and the things that matter to us? We take a broadly historical approach, reading the classic philosophical texts as well as contemporary work. Three themes recur across the unit: the relation of mind and body, the quest for knowledge, and the nature of the self. We begin with conceptions of the mind at the dawn of the modern period, asking whether mind is entirely physical or could in principle survive bodily death. We also explore the links between the self, time, and memory. We then introduce some key thinkers of the twentieth century; and we explore their views on freedom, lived experience, and our relations to others. The unit as a whole offers a detailed introduction to controversial questions about the nature of the mind, showing how historical understanding animates current debates, and demonstrating the relevance of philosophy to live modern issues about science, human nature, and culture.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand the nature of mind and self using foundational philosophical ideas from the Early Modern period (namely Descartes and Locke), at an introductory level
  2. understand contemporary debates about the metaphysics of personal identity, at an introductory level
  3. understand, in an applied way, what some contemporary philosophical research tells us about abilities that are needed in order for one to be considered a "responsible" person - for example, in a legal scenario
  4. possess basic skills in philosophical analysis
  5. respond to some common theories of mind and personhood in a reflective and critical way
  6. express your own ideas with improved clarity, and construct stronger arguments, than previously.       
  • Assessment (30%)
  • Essay (40%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Quiz (10%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PHI130 — Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics

If you have no prior university experience, you should complete BAR100 Academic Learning Skills or COM10006 Academic Literacies: Learning and Communication Practice before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1General Introduction
2Descartes on knowledge and understanding
3Descartes on the nature of the mind
4The self and personal identity
5Personal Identity - Do I survive?
6Identity and Bodies
7Identity - Multiple Personality
8Free Will and Determinism
9Topics in contemporary Philosophy of Mind

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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