Neurophilosophy, Phenomenology and Subjectivity


Course Objective

At the end of this course the student has acquired
- knowledge about the neurophilosophy of subjectivity and perception,
the neurophenomenological and the enactivist approach to neuroscientific
research, and other attempt to integrate subjective knowledge into
neuroscientific research paradigms
- skills in addressing the merits and pitfalls of each of these

Course Content

This series of lectures and interactive sessions pays attention to a
more specific and intriguing problem in philosophy of neuroscience,
i.e., the question of how to account in neuroscientific terms for the
‘subjectivity’ of our mental states. Subjectivity refers to how it is
like for me (and not for someone else) to perceive, feel, imagine, or
think about something. My pain is my pain and not the pain of someone
else, and someone else can only imagine how it is for me to have pain,
because I am the only one who really owns the pain. This issue has
famously become known as the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. The hard
problem is based on the thesis, that the subjective quality of mental
states cannot be reduced to or explained by ‘objective’ neuroscientific
facts or mechanisms. We will discuss attempts to overcome this problem.
Enactivist, dialogical and existential approaches to subjectivity try to
overcome the classical divide between first-person (subjective) and
third-person (objective) approaches to mental functioning. They will
also be discussed.

Teaching Methods

- lectures
- study of literature
- assignments
- group discussion

Method of Assessment

Assignments + other contributions in class (20%)

Final paper (3000 words) (80%)

The assignments and other contributions in the classroom are evaluated
on the basis of the following points:
- Overall quality of summaries (clarity, succinctness, focus)
- Relevance (questions, remarks)
- Presentation (skills, use of digital media, quality of discussion)

The final paper is assessed on the basis of the following points:
- Clarity of research question/topic
- Clear description of the way the question/topic is methodically
- Relevant, succinct and focused summary of findings and arguments in
the literature
- Quality of the argumentation
- Is the conclusion based on the preceding findings and reasonings?

Entry Requirements

Meeting of general admission criteria for the program; no additional


To be announced at Canvas

Target Audience

Research master neuroscience students and those with equal

General Information

Course Code W_MA_NSNPS
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. G. Glas
Examiner prof. dr. G. Glas
Teaching Staff prof. dr. G. Glas

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

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