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Topics in Consciousness & Representation - PHI00087M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Paul Noordhof
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

Topics in Consciousness and Representation are key both for the successful understanding of philosophical theories of mind and because they enable us to understand the significance of advances in areas such as cognitive science and AI. Many theories of consciousness draw upon theories of representation and vice versa. So there are also natural connections between these two topics. They also have relevance to our understanding of concepts central to much value theory, such as pleasure and pain, and, indeed, our reasoning in this area.

In this module, the students take turns to select topics in the philosophical literature on Consciousness and Representation and present on those to the whole group. Thus the curriculum is co-created with the students who identify topics in the current debate which are most relevant to the students’ interests.



Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

Develop the student’s detailed knowledge in the topics of Consciousness and Representation drawing upon their own particular interests in their other areas of MA study but also giving them awareness and understanding of the interests of other students.

Develop the student’s capacities to present material clearly to an advanced audience and respond effectively to questions.

Develop the student’s capacities to discuss material presented by others using constructive but critical questioning.


Module learning outcomes

  1. Detailed knowledge of a topic of their choice on Consciousness and Representation, enhanced by in-depth responses to peer discussion.

  2. Refined presentations skills.

  3. Refined skills in defending philosophical positions in a research seminar style context.

  4. Broader knowledge of a variety of other topics in Consciousness and Representation.

  5. Refined skills in constructive criticism of the work of others in a research seminar style context.

Module content

Each week a member of the module gives a presentation on the topic of their choice in the area of Consciousness and Representation, with reading identified in conjunction with the module tutor and circulated to the module members beforehand.

Learning Objectives (LOs) 1 and 4 are assessed through the summative essay, with written formative feedback given on the presentation. Formative feedback will be given orally on LOs 2, 3 and 5.



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

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative Work

  • 30-minute presentation during one seminar of the Spring Term.
  • Notes and/or slides relating to the presentation to be submitted on Monday, Week 8 of the Spring Term.

Summative Work

  • 4,000-word summative essay to be submitted on Monday, Week 1 of the Summer Term.


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

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on the written submission for the presentation in Week 10.

Students will receive feedback on summative assessment (and reassessment) 4 weeks after submission.


Indicative reading

The readings will be decided by students in advance of the seminars. 

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.