Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PHIL101 Mind and Reality

Do we have free-will? How are our minds related to our bodies? Can one prove that God exists? And other questions about what exists in the world.

The world is an awe-inspiring place. Socrates taught that if we want to live well here, we should understand the world as best we can. So in this paper, we learn to think about very general questions about the nature of reality. We try to formulate ideas and arguments as carefully as possible and then examine them for truth and persuasiveness. We get as clear as we can about 'big' topics that matter. How do we know: whether or not there is a god; what minds are and whether or not machines could have them; what constitutes freewill; and what constitutes personal identity.

Paper title Mind and Reality
Paper code PHIL101
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Schedule C
Arts and Music
This paper is open to all students.

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator and lecturer: Professor James Maclaurin

Paper Structure
  • Arguments about Gods and Machines
  • What are minds?
  • What is personal identity?
  • What is freewill?
  • Two essays - 15% each
  • Tutorial exercises - 10%
  • Final exam - 60%
Teaching Arrangements
Two 50-minute lectures per week and one 50-minute tutorial per week.

Course notes and readings are provided.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will acquire:

  1. The ability to read and write philosophical texts
  2. Understanding of what philosophy is and how it is done
  3. The ability to identify and critically assess arguments
  4. A grasp of key ideas about mind and reality

^ Top of page


Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 10-14, 16-22
A2 Monday 16:00-16:50 10-14, 16-22
A3 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 10-14, 16-22
A4 Thursday 14:00-14:50 10-14, 16-22
A5 Monday 13:00-13:50 10-14, 16-22
A6 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10-14, 16-22
A7 Thursday 13:00-13:50 10-14, 16-22