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Philosophy and cognitive science

Associate teachers


ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

15 / 15 / 0

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce the students to the history, disciplines, problems and ideas of philosophy relevant for cognitive science.

The course is intended both for students without any prior philosophical knowledge as well as for those coming from a philosophical background.

The first part of the course will be of a more general introductory nature and will provide an overview of various conceptions of philosophy, its history, main concepts, disciplines and methods of enquiry. The second part of the course will focus more specifically on philosophy in relation to cognitive science.

It will 1) address the question of philosophy’s role in the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science; 2) provide an account of philosophy’s most important contributions to cognitive science; and 3) highlight the ways in which the advancements in cognitive science have contributed to reformulating traditional philosophical problems in turn.

Crucially, the main aim of the course is to enable students to appreciate the importance of philosophical thought for cognitive science research and to employ its rich and diverse set of resources in addressing cognitive science problems.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Apply theoretical knowledge of the fundamentals of the six core disciplines and their relationship within cognitive science.
  • Apply specific knowledge and skills from selected disciplines constituting cognitive science.
  • Integrate insights, methods, and levels of analysis across different disciplines into a unified framework for understanding the human mind and cognition in general.
  • Critically evaluate cognitive science findings and synthesize information to be employed in a collaborative professional environment.
  • Apply interdisciplinary approach in examining phenomena pertaining to cognition.
  • Design and conduct an interdisciplinary research project in cognitive science.
  • Employ diverse disciplinary tools in exploring and describing the nature of cognitive processes.

Course content (syllabus)

  • What is philosophy? Philosophical thought in relation to arts and sciences.
  • History of philosophy – major periods, figures, schools of thought, the analytic-continental divide.
  • Major philosophical concepts across main disciplines (historical and contemporary).
  • Philosophy and cognitive science - the role of philosophy in cognitive science; philosophy of cognitive science.
  • Epistemology for cognitive science.
  • Logic for cognitive science
  • Philosophy of science for cognitive science
  • Philosophy of mind and cognitive science - the mind-body problem in historical perspective.
  • The mind-body problem - dualism vs. monism
  • Functionalism.
  • The representational-computational conception of the mind.
  • Eliminative materialism (Churchland) vs. folk psychology (Fodor).
  • Consciousness - qualia, the hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers)
  • Embodied cognition and philosophy. Phenomenology and its contribution to embodied cognition.
  • Predictive processing and philosophy.

Student responsibilities

Class attendance, seminar paper, written exam.

Required literature

  • Samuels, R., Margolis, E., and Stich, S. (Eds.). (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford: OUP. (Odabrana poglavlja)
  • Cain, M. (2016). The Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Cambridge: Polity Press. (Selected chapters)
  • Clark, A. (2013). Mindware: an Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (2nd Edition). Oxford: OUP. (Selected chapters)
  • Heil, John. (2012). Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. (Selected chapters)

Optional literature

  • Fodor, J. (1998). In critical condition: Polemical essays on cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. The MIT Press.