PHIL311-22S1 (D) Semester One 2022 (Distance)

Meaning, Mind, and the Nature of Philosophy

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


Do we think in words? If I say 'I'm in pain', do you really know what I mean? How can we talk about what doesn't exist - tomorrow, Harry Potter, or the possible world where you win $1 million on Lotto? Can machines have concepts? Why does every attempt to solve a philosophical problem simply raise more problems, sometimes even worse ones? We look at central philosophical problems through the eyes of some of the greatest and most challenging philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.

BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317). For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.

Learning Outcomes

  • The aim of this course is that you will learn to:

  • Understand and analyse central problems in recent and contemporary philosophy

  • Defend a position rigorously by means of logical argument, and anticipate and rebut objections

  • Think independently, question assumptions, and search for different approaches

  • Communicate effectively and unambiguously, both orally and in written reports
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Any 30 points at 200 level from PHIL, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA or the BSc.


PHIL464, PHIL497

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Diane Proudfoot

Contact Diane for further information.


Assessment to be arranged.

There is no final examination in this course.

Textbooks / Resources

Anthony Kenny (ed.), The Wittgenstein Reader, 2nd edition (Blackwell, 2006). Copies are available in UBS and on 3-hour loan in the High Demand Collection in the Library.

Additional readings, video files, and podcasts are available in Learn.

(*Image: “Ludwig Wittgenstein, Pencil on board” by Christiaan Tonnis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Cropped from original.)

Course links

Library portal
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,597.00

International fee $7,200.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All PHIL311 Occurrences

  • PHIL311-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022
  • PHIL311-22S1 (D) Semester One 2022 (Distance)