Philosophy 2A: What am I? PHIL2010

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to core philosophical issues concerning the nature of the self. We will explore the relationship between mind and body, whether and in what sense the self is free, what constitutes sameness of self over time, and how the self is related to the world in which it is located.


Lectures: selected Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12.00-13.00; and four, two hour collaborative classes, Fridays 12.00-14.00 as scheduled on MyCampus, with a corresponding alternative, online two hour collaborative class on Mondays, 14.00-16.00. The alternative time is principally for the benefit of Economics students for whom there is a timetable clash, but is also open to students who miss the normal Friday class.

Requirements of Entry

A grade D3 or above in one of the following Philosophy 1A(PHIL1010); Philosophy 1B(PHIL1011)

Excluded Courses





Exam (90 minute duration) - 50%

Essay (1500 words) - 40%

Seminar participation (in-class multiple choice quiz, Approx. ten minutes per seminar) - 10%

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Seminar participation is not available for reassessment 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Allow students to develop analytical thinking skills via (a) the identification and clarification of conceptual relationships and (b) the identification and evaluation of assumptions and arguments concerning the self.

■ Provide students with the opportunity to study and engage with different theories on the nature of the self.

■ Allow students to apply reasoning skills to questions about the nature of the self, including questions about the relationship between the mind and the body, free will, and personal identity.

■ Allow students to engage with wider philosophical issues relating to the relationship between the self and the context in which it exists.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Apply critical and analytical skills to issues of current philosophical importance pertaining to the self.

■ Discuss critically competing accounts of the nature of the mind and its relationship to the body.

■ Explain and evaluate competing accounts of human freedom and choice, and the relationship between free choice and the law-governed nature of the physical world.

■ Explain and evaluate different theories of personal identity over time.

■ Discuss critically some main arguments used by philosophers in discussing the nature of the self and how it is related to wider society.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.