PHIL311-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Meaning, Mind, and the Nature of Philosophy

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Do we think in words? If I say 'I'm in pain', do you really know what I mean? How can we talk about what doesn't exist - tomorrow, Harry Potter, or the possible world where you win $1 million on Lotto? Can machines have concepts? Why does every attempt to solve a philosophical problem simply raise more problems, sometimes even worse ones? We look at central philosophical problems through the eyes of some of the greatest and most challenging philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Learning Outcomes

Why study philosophy? Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills.

The aim of PHIL311 is that you will:

1. Understand and analyze central problems in recent and contemporary philosophy
2. Defend a position rigorously by means of logical argument
3. Think independently and creatively about theoretical problems
4. Question assumptions and theories
5. Communicate effectively and unambiguously, both orally and in written reports
6. Become skilled in using digital sources and systems for research

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


Any 30 points at 200 level from PHIL, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA or the BSc.


PHIL464, PHIL497

Timetable 2023

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 A4 Lecture Theatre
17 Jul - 27 Aug
11 Sep - 17 Sep
25 Sep - 22 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 A5 Lecture Theatre
17 Jul - 27 Aug
11 Sep - 22 Oct

Course Coordinator

Diane Proudfoot

Contact Diane for further information.


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Class Participation 10% 1% per weekly post up to a total of 10%
Presentation 20%
Essay 35%
Final Test 35% Online Test

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

The textbook for Part One of this course is A. Kenny (ed.) The Wittgenstein Reader, 2nd edition (Blackwell, 2006); copies are available in UBS and on 3-hour loan in the High Demand Collection. Core readings for Part Two will be available online, in Learn or through the Library.

(Image: "Ludwig Wittgenstein 2" by Christiaan Tonnis, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,641.00

International fee $7,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All PHIL311 Occurrences

  • PHIL311-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023
  • PHIL311-23S2 (D) Semester Two 2023 (Distance)