Accessibility statement

Consciousness - PHI00018H

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Paul Noordhof
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module has the following aims:

To promote knowledge and understanding of consciousness and the philosophical problems attendant upon trying to provide an explanation of it.

To promote analytical skills, and skills in written communication by offering in the lectures an analysis of the main arguments concerning the nature of consciousness, which is then subject to independent scrutiny in seminars, and forms the basis of written work upon which feedback will be given.

To promote a critical and independent approach to ideas by focussing on a substantial problem in philosophy of mind and trying to arrive at a clear view of what would be a viable means of dealing with it, rather than teaching general theories of mind.

To foster respect for reason and argument as tools for extending knowledge and settling debates by displaying how the analysis of, and debate concerning, our understanding of ourselves, has deepened our understanding.

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content:

The module will focus on philosophical approaches to the understanding of consciousness. The topics to be covered will be: consciousness and the explanatory gap; eliminativism; functionalism and qualia; higher order thought and availability for higher order thought theories of consciousness, representationalism about consciousness.

Academic and graduate skills:

  • Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the problem that consciousness presents if we wish a viable explanation of it and the main theories that have been advanced in this area.
  • Students should, in their written work, display a capacity to think and express themselves clearly on their chosen topics in the study of consciousness. In particular, their essays should show signs of recognising the main relevant debates in this area and the way arguments in these debates support or undermine each other.
  • Students should demonstrate an ability to formulate various philosophical positions and come to a reasoned undogmatic conclusion on their respective merits.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (4000 Words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative work: 1-page essay plan on A4, 11 point, to be submitted at the end of Week 8.

Summative work: 4,000-word essay due on Monday, Week 2 of Summer Term.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (4000 Words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will be returned according to University and Departmental policy.

Indicative reading

Introductory text:

Amy Kind, ‘Qualia’, Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

David Chalmers (1995), ‘Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness’, in his (2010), The Character of Consciousness, esp. pp. 3-19.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.