PHI304: Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy


PHI304: Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeElective unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 2
Tuition feeLearn more



This unit deals with two major sub-disciplines within analytic philosophy: philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. The first half of the course follows the development of the philosophy of science in the 20th century, with a focus on accounts of the nature of scientific reasoning, from the rise and decline of logical empiricism, on through the work of Thomas Kuhn, and his successors. The second half of the course deals with the philosophy of mind, and covers issues that may include: behaviourism, central-state materialism, eliminativism, functionalism, attempts to naturalise intentionality, and contemporary neo-dualisms about consciousness.


Learning outcomes

With regard to subject-specific knowledge and understanding, students completing this unit should:

  1. understand the key concepts and distinctions in twentieth-century analytic philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, including a selection from: the theory/observation distinction, the deductive-nomological model, theory-ladenness, the Quine-Duhem hypothesis, normal vs. revolutionary science, scientific paradigms, the mind-body problem, qualia, behaviourism, central-state materialism, functionalism, supervenience, naturalization, and the hard problem of consciousness.
  2. understand the main theoretical trends in twentieth-century analytic philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, as exemplified in the work of (a selection from): various positivist philosophers of science, Popper, Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Wittgenstein, Ryle, Smart, Putnam, Lewis, Searle, Fodor, Millikan, Dreyfus, Dennett, Davidson, Kim, and Chalmers.
    In relation to more general academic skills, the subject aims to lead the student
  3. to develop an ability to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories, in the course of engaging in research on, critical reading of, reflection on, and analysis of presented texts.
  4. to exercise and develop further the ability to summarise information and communicate in a persuasive, logical and coherent manner.
  5. to competently exhibit in written work clarity of expression, logical essay structure and appropriate use of referencing and bibliography according to the conventions of academic writing.
  6. to exercise and develop the ability to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories in verbal discussion.



Interested in other Philosophy units?

PHI101: Introduction to Philosophy
PHI102: Metaphysics
PHI202: Moral Philosophy
PHI204: Political Philosophy
PHI301: Modern Philosophy
PHI302: Social and Political Philosophy
PHI303: Philosophy of Language
PHI304: Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy
PHI305: Intensive Study of a Text in Classical Philosophy
PHI306: Intensive Study of a Text in Modern Philosophy



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