Intro to Philosophy of Psychology


This course introduces students to the philosophical issues that arise from the theory and practice of Psychology. It has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Bachelor of Psychology degree. Topics covered will include the scope of psychology's subject matter, the biology versus culture debate, the mind/body problem, the nature and function of worldviews, scientific method, science and psuedo-science, schools of psychological thought, and professional ethics.



  • Semester 2 - 2017

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic philosophical issues within Psychology.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues arising from (i) the diversity of psychology's subject matter, and from (ii) psychological research and practice in general.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of (i) professional ethics, (ii) where and why professional ethics apply in the professional practice of psychology, and (iii) how general professional ethical principles are applied to particular situational cases.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the 'big picture' framework from which the various schools of psychological theory and practice have emerged.


Content will be organised around the following topics:

  1. Basic problems in Philosophy of Psychology (e.g. the biology/culture debate, the mind/body problem, worldviews, determinism, rationalism, reduction).
  2. Philosophy of scientific method (including deductive and inductive reasoning, empiricism, falsification, Kuhn, science and psuedo-science)
  3. Professionalism and Professional ethics.

Although the topics explored are philosophical in nature, the focus is on how decisions made at the philosophical level shape the theory and practice of Psychology.

Assumed Knowledge

Qualification for entry to Bachelor of Psychology or other relevant degrees.

Assessment Items

Quiz: Two quizzes

Essay: Essay

In Term Test: Exam

Written Assignment: Tutorial assignments

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Tutorials will commence in week 2.