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Mind and World - PHIX131

This 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 the philosophers of Ancient Greece. We look at how they understood the relationship between the self and the cosmos and the relation between body and soul. We then turn to conceptions of the mind at the dawn of the modern period, asking whether mind is entirely physical or could in principle survive bodily death. In the final section of the unit we focus on contemporary debates over the nature of personal identity. Is psychological continuity or bodily continuity the key to personal survival? We will then introduce the notion of narrative identity and examine more closely the role played by memory and our embodied experience in the construction of the self.

All enrolment queries should be directed to Open Universities Australia (OUA): see

When Offered:

S1 OUA - Session 1, offered through Open Universities Australia

S2 OUA - Session 2, offered through Open Universities Australia

Staff Contact(s): Dr Jennifer Duke-Yonge
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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