Philosophy 496, Psychology 475H
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: MCC212A.
Office Hours: MF 3:00 - 4:00, W 10:30 - 11:15, and by appointment


The mind is not an object like a bird or a rock. How can you study it? You cannot measure it directly, in the ways that you can measure the mass of a bird or the hardness of a rock. What kind of methods are appropriate? And what kind of thing is the mind, if not an object?

These are interesting questions, but their answers also are very important to everything we do. After all, you are your mind. So what kind of thing a mind is, and how it can be studied and changed and controlled, effects each of us, and determines the possibilities of society.

This is a course on the philosophy of psychology. Among the skills you will gain in this course is an understanding of the scientific method, and how scientific progress occurs. In our time, when science is often impugned, this is a very important skill. The world has need of people who, like you, will have this understanding.

This year, the course will include a focus on non-human animal minds.

History and Current Systems in Psychology, and the Joint Seminar in Philosophy and Psychology, is a capstone course for Philosophy Psychology majors (and, in this year, Philosophy majors). The course will trace psychology's development as a science through an examination of the ways in which fundamental philosophical assumptions appear in, influence, and illuminate the scientific study of the mind. In so doing, we will be examining the way in which selected systems and theories of psychology have addressed such basic problems as self-knowledge, the unconscious, the mind-body problem, free will versus determinism, cognition, consciousness (phenomenal experience), and moral development and behavior.


There is no unified textbook for this course. We will be assigning readings of original works of major contributors to the literature on the philosophy and psychology of the mind. These include the following texts available at the bookstore:

Guiding questions

We'll try to follow a pattern for each new theory or concept: you'll read some of our core material, answer some questions that ensure you understand the material, and then we will spend the rest of our time applying that material--that is, ensuring that we understand the theories and concepts by being able to apply those theories and concepts. Tests will focus on applications!

For each of our texts we will have a focus upon an influential thinker but also a school of psychology. You will in each case be asked to assess and be able to speak and write in answer to the questions: Implicit in all these questions is the question: does it require special methods to study the mind? Is it different from other kinds of phenomena in a fundamental way that perhaps requires special methods?

Attendance and Class Participation

This course is designed as a seminar. It is not my intent to deliver lectures, rather to lead our seminar in discussing the issues presented by our readings. It is essential that you attend each class session and participate actively in discussions.


I am asking that no one use a computer or cell phone in class. I know that this is a catastrophe of some kind, but I have found that they always become terrible distractions. If you must use Snapchat or watch Netflix, just skip class.

Reading Assignments

Readings will be assigned and announced in class and will form the basis for co-operative participation assignments. We will be examining the readings in detail during class meetings. In order to participate and contribute as a seminar member you will need to be prepared by completing the required readings for each class meeting. You will need to devote quality time to your readings for this course. Come to class with questions and well thought-out comments concerning your readings. It generally helps to write these down.


I will often assign a short homeworks about the reading or other matters.


There will be at least two standardized-style tests, and also a midterm and a final exam.


You will be required to write a paper (or revise a relevant paper from another class). This will be at first evaluated through peer review. Since we want to ensure that you get feedback before the semester is over, the paper will be due before the end of the semester so that you can get it back before the end of the semester. All assignments must be handed in, when required, in hard copy.


Final grades will be based on:
If you miss an exam and have an excused absence for the day you miss the exam, you may make it up, by special appointment with me, when you are able to come back to class. It is your responsibility to arrange any make-up exams as soon as you know you are going to miss the exam. Otherwise you may lose the opportunity to take the test, since I cannot give make-up exams after the class has gone over the answers.

Here is how you secure an excused absence: Only prior notification with credibly documented or easily verifiable reasons (e.g., medical visits to Mary Walker, documented participation in official sporting events, etc.) will result in excused absences. You must notify in writing, call, or email me prior to your absence from class. You must notify the Philosophy Department secretary or the Psychology Department secretary before you are going to be absent. However, you must make sure she knows your name, the number of the course, the date, and your easily verifiable reason, along with a request to forward the information to me. It is better to give your information to me, except when you are unable to communicate with my phone or email for some reason.

Please hold onto all of your assignments and exams. Sometime before the end of the semester we recommend that you ask us to review the grades that I have recorded to make sure that I have not made any mistakes. I'm only human and can make typos in recording grades! Grades will be posted on Angel, so you can review these at any time.

College Policy on Intellectual Integrity

Intellectual integrity on the part of all students is basic to individual growth and development through college course work. When academic dishonesty occurs, the teaching/learning climate is seriously undermined and student growth and development are impeded. For these reasons, any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and is therefore prohibited.

Intellectual integrity on the part of all students is basic to individual growth and development through college course work. When academic dishonestly occurs, the teaching/learning climate is seriously undermined and student growth and development are impeded. For these reasons, any form of intellectual dishonestly is a serious concern and is therefore prohibited.

The full intellectual integrity policy can be found at

The disabilities statement

The Office of Disability Services is available to assist students who have a legally documented disability or students who suspect that they may have a disability. If you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Office of Disability Services ( or see


We will frequently update an online schedule of readings and assignments. It is your responsibility to check the www pages for the class at least every other day!

Office Hours

In addition to my listed office hours, I encourage you to make appointments. I am available quite a bit, but have trouble predicting times because of lots of irregular meetings. Please try to come to office hours with specific questions in mind. You can of course come with a general request for help, but it is always helpful if you spend a little time thinking about how I can best help you out.