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180123 VO-L Introduction to Theoretical Philosophy (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie

Lecture with compulsory reading. The philosophical texts will be presented in the lectures and discussed (and partially read) in the Kolloquia (discussion & reading) sessions. For more information please register into the moodle elearning platform for this course.

PowerPoint and Audiofiles for this lecture (in German) will be provided as well.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: German

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Digital Teaching:

All lectures can be followed live via u: stream or moodle collaborate and are also recorded in moodle for the lecture.

All information and materials for the lecture (audio files, PPt slides) are available in Moodle. Office hours for question and answers are held via Moodle Collaborate as well.

Wednesday 10.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 17.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 24.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 14.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 21.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 28.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 05.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 12.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 19.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 26.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 02.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 09.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 16.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 23.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Wednesday 30.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The lecture delivers an introduction and an overview of the most important areas of theoretical philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Analytical Philosophy and Philosophy of Mind.

Historical framework: Antiquity, Middle Ages, Early Modern to Present.Each semester is dedicated to a key topic.

Topics of theoretical philosophy in the 21st century:
- Philosophy of Mind + Cognitive Science
- Posthumanism, Consciousness in Humans and Animal Consciousness
- Artificial Intelligence / AI and Robotics

This lecture concentrates on the most important current questions and interdisciplinary problems that theoretical philosophy deals with in contemporary research contexts. The aim of the course is to convey the most important concepts, arguments and problem settings. By reading selected texts, we will get to know, discuss and discuss them in detail.

Assessment and permitted materials

- written exam (2 date options) at the end of term in February 2021, in the mode of Moodle Online "Open Book" exam.
- tow more exam dates in March 2021

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Lecture units with philosophical texts:
PPts and video recordings of the lecture

Minimum requirement for a positive grading: 60%
Maximum Points: 100%.

Grading Key:
0 < 60%: not Sufficient
61-70 Punkte: Sufficient
71-80 Punkte: Satisfactory
81-90 Punkte: Good
91-100 Punkte: Excellent

Examination topics

Lecture units and questions on the philosophical texts.
Ca. 8-10 questions on the Lecture content and questions on the philosophical texts/quotes, to be answered in short easy form (no half sentences or keywords), no multiple choice test.

Materials for exam preparation: audio files, PPt-Folien, Lecture notes, selected texts and chapters from the reading list.

Reading list

Beckermann, Ansgar: Das Leib-Seele-Problem. Eine Einführung in die Philosophie des Geistes. UTB: Wilhelm Fink, München (2008).
Bieri, Peter (Hrsg.): Analytische Philosophie des Geistes. 4. Auflage. Beltz (2007).
Chalmers, David: in: Jonathan Shear (Hrsg.): Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. (1997)
Churchland, Patricia: Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, (1986).

Crevier, Daniel (1993), AI: The Tumultuous Search for Artificial Intelligence, New York, NY: BasicBooks,
Dreyfuss, Hubert: What Computers Can't Do: The Limits of Artificial Intelligence. (1972) und 2nd edition What Computers Still Can't Do (1979).

Godall, Jane, Bekoff, Marc: The Emotional Lives of Animals, (2007).
Lakoff,George and Mark Johnson, 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought. Basic Books (1999).

Metzinger, Thomas: Das Leib-Seele-Problem im 20. Jahrhundert (2007)
Nilsson, Nils: The quest for artificial intelligence. A history of ideas and achievements. Cambridge UP, 2010, Dt: Die Suche nach Künstlicher Intelligenz, Berlin (2014).
Richter, Ewald: Wohin führt uns die moderne Hirnforschung. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin (2005) Falkenburg, Brigitte: Mythos Determinismus. Wieviel erklärt uns die Hirnforschung? Springer, Heidelberg (2012).
Schönfeld, Martin (2006). "Animal Consciousness: Paradigm Change in the Life Sciences". Perspectives on Science. 14 (3): 354–381.

Searle, John: Minds, Brains and Science: The 1984 Reith Lectures (1984)
Searle, John and Nick Bostrom: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford University Press (2014)

Weizenbaum, Joseph: Die Macht der Computer und die Ohnmacht der Vernunft. Suhrkamp (1978).

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 14.06.2021 15:48