PHIL497-17S1 (C) Semester One 2017

Meaning, Mind, and the Nature of Philosophy

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2017
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2017
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 3 March 2017
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 19 May 2017


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? Could you have been born in a different hemisphere, with different parents and the opposite sex? 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.

To take 400-level courses in Philosophy you don’t need to have majored in Philosophy, and you don’t even need to have done your undergraduate degree at UC. If you complete 120 points in 400-level Philosophy, you will get a BA Honours degree in Philosophy—but you can also take a smaller number of 400-level Philosophy courses and credit these towards your BA or BSc Honours degree in another subject, e.g. Psychology or Political Science or Mathematics. We offer 400-level courses in diverse areas.  You can also write a 30-point Research Essay on a topic of your choice. For a list of 400-level Philosophy courses, click here.

Honours is about developing your own research interests and engaging with cutting-edge research. UC’s Philosophy Department has a very strong research profile. We have world-class experts on Turing, Wittgenstein, philosophy of mind,  ethics and bioethics, logic, and philosophy of computing. UC philosophers are regularly invited to lecture on their research at universities in Australasia, Europe and the United States.

For further information about Philosophy courses, including additional 400-level independent study courses, contact Diane Proudfoot. For information about Honours degrees, see the BA Honours regulations and BSc Honours regulations.

Learning Outcomes

  • The aim of this course is that you will improve your ability to:
  • Analyse and solve central problems in contemporary philosophy
  • Communicate clearly and precisely to a high level, both orally and in written reports
  • Think and research independently


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.


Course Coordinator

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

Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,775.00

* 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 PHIL497 Occurrences

  • PHIL497-17S1 (C) Semester One 2017