Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202000371
Philosophy of Psychology
Course info
Course module202000371
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeStudy Unit
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. S.O.M. de Boer
PreviousNext 1
prof.dr. C. Aydin
dr. S.O.M. de Boer
Contactperson for the course
dr. S.O.M. de Boer
K. Claassen
M. van der Horst
Academic year2023
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
At the end of this course, students will:
    • become familiar with key problems in philosophy of psychology and explore their connection to society and technology
    • understand the main philosophical issues in psychological methodology, basic concepts, and knowledge claims in connection to the nature of the mind and the self
be able to critically assess debates in the philosophy of psychology

The Philosophy study unit will take a closer look at various underlying fundamental issues in psychology, their theoretical underpinnings and their connection to society and technology. Those issues cover psychological methodology (e.g., in diagnosis and treatment), basic psychological concepts (e.g., “the self”), knowledge claims in psychology (e.g., “X is a mental disorder”), and even the very nature of the mind. Questions that will be addressed include: “Does free will exist? Why is the concept of mental disorder epistemically, socially, and politically controversial? What does it mean to speak of cognitive enhancement?”. Our approach to philosophy of psychology is guided by the idea that psychological practices rely implicitly on a particular answer to such fundamental questions, but that it remains often unclear why this particular answer is endorsed (rather than another), and what its consequences are. This study unit aims to connect fundamental questions to concrete issues in psychological practice (in the clinic, organizations, and labs) and the technologies employed therein, such as mental health questionnaires that endorse a particular view on what mental disorders are or the use of nudges to change behavior in “persuasive technologies” that embody a specific understanding of free will. Making such connections explicit will help students to justify certain practices, critically reflect on their shortcomings, and argue for potential alternatives. Students will be asked to do a short group project.
Module description
This study unit is part of the module History, Ethics and Philosophy of Psychology (202000368). A module is offered as one educational unity and students take it as such.
Assumed previous knowledge
Mandatory: the EC’s of the first year’s modules (B1) have been obtained
Recommended: second year of the bachelor Psychology
Module 11
Participating study
Bachelor Psychology
Required materials
Study materials will be made available via Canvas.
Recommended materials
Instructional modes

Take-home assignment

Kies de Nederlandse taal