FIL2108 – The Philosophy of Psychology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course, you will engage in more depth with issues in the philosophy of mind as well as with philosophical questions at the foundations of scientific psychology, cognitive science, and the neurosciences. It focuses on core topics in the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science.

On the one hand, the course will engage with philosophical questions **about** psychology. We will, for example, consider the nature of psychological explanation, the relationship between psychological and neuroscientific explanations, the nature and the role of mental representations, predictive coding and Bayesian models of the brain.

On the other hand, we will look at how, if at all, psychological research can help to answer traditional philosophical questions. Case studies may include: rationality, animal minds, the nature of concepts, psychiatric disorders, the self, moral psychology, or consciousness.

We will consider questions like these: Do chimpanzees, birds, or lobsters feel pain? How can we study consciousness scientifically? Are we, humans, rational (could science show that we are not)? What does the theory evolution tell us about the way we think and act? Does thinking happen in a kind of language? What can brain imaging tell us about the mind? Does cognition happen only in the brain, or might it be "extended" to include the body and environment? What is the relationship between our cognitive and our social capacities? How should we understand implicit attitudes and implicit bias?

Learning outcome

The aim is to give the participants:

  • an in-depth knowledge of some central issues in philosophy of psychology and cognitive science
  • the ability to analyse different philosophical views on the topics covered
  • the ability to express themselves in academic forms, both orally and in writing.


Recommended previous knowledge

Recommended previous knowledge

A basic knowledge in philosophy of mind as offered in FIL1001 – Innføring i metafysikk og bevissthetsfilosofi.


12 double sessions which will be a combination of seminars and lectures.

The course has the following compulsory tuition activities:

  • An obligatory draft of the term paper which is to be submitted in Canvas

The compulsory activities are only valid the semester you complete the course.

How to apply for valid absence from obligatory activity / mandatory presence


Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

A term paper of 10-12 pages, excl references and litterature list. You submit your term paper in Inspera. When you write an essay you are entitled to receive individual tutoring, but his however requires that you submit a draft to your teacher.

The compulsory tuition activities must be completed in order to take the exam.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)