Philosophy of Freedom: Freedom and the Brain

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Philosophy of Freedom: Freedom and the Brain

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

    6
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    Period 2 + 3

    Level: 300

    COURSE OBJECTIVE
    The purpose of this course is

    • to let the student become familiar with the most important empirical literature on the subject
    • to raise the student's awareness of the implicit assumptions and of the models of the self and of human freedom that are built in into the empirical literature
    • to let the student become acquainted with the most important metaphysical positions and epistemological issues in the perennial debate on free will
    • to learn the student to reflect on possible societal, legal, moral and psychiatric consequences of brain research on free will
    • to learn the student how to be successfully involved in public debates on neuroscience and the brain.

    COURSE CONTENT
    This course focuses on the impact of neuroscience on the understanding of free will. Many neuroscientists and philosophers claim that there is no free will. This course investigate this claim by thoroughly reviewing the neuroscientific evidence and through a careful philosophical analysis of the assumptions that are built in into the experimental designs and neuroscientific vocabulary. The consequences of neuroscientific insights for law, psychiatry, and our self-understanding as citizens will be reviewed. Finally, the course examines how a public debate can be conducted from neuroscientific, philosophical, and professional perspectives.

    TEACHING METHODS
    Lectures; study and discussion of the literature; discussion of assignments; group discussion

    TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
    Depends on the number of students; more than 15 students: written examination; if less then assessment on the basis of individual paper and assigments.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    60 EC or more in philosophy courses

    TARGET AUDIENCE
    (exchange) students in philosophy

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.