|Course level||Advanced Bachelor/Master (PhD students may also apply)|
|Recommended course combination||Session 1: Buddhism and Psychology|
Session 2: The Beautiful Mind: Global Perceptions of Mental Health
||28 July to 11 August 2018
|Co-ordinating lecturer||Dr Leon de Bruin / Prof. Gerrit Glas
|Other lecturers||Prof. Jeroen Geurts, Dr Sanneke de Haan, Dr Julian Kiverstein, Prof. Gerben Meynen, Prof. Marc Slors, Dr Derek Strijbos, Dr Markus Eronen, Dr Alan Ralston, Dr Victor Gijsbers
|Form(s) of tuition||Lectures, interactive seminars, group sessions|
|Form(s) of assessment||Presentation, research report|
This three-part summer course focuses on recent debates about the nature of human cognition and our efforts to explain it. How do these debates impact our understanding of mental disorder?
In Part 1: Embodied and Extended Cognition, you will home in on the cognitive processes involved in solving a multiplication problem. Is this down to neuronal processes alone? Can eye movement, posture and the use of a calculator be seen as part of the cognitive system that solves the problem? You will consider philosophical arguments and empirical evidence for the hypothesis that cognitive systems are dynamically constituted by brain, body and environment.
Part 2: Mechanistic Explanation looks at the increasingly prevalent idea that cognitive neuroscientists provide mechanistic explanations of cognitive phenomena. This sparks a discussion of the mechanistic explanatory strategy and whether it can be applied to extended cognitive systems.
Part 3 looks at Psychiatry and Mental Disorder. You will assess the DSM-ICD psychiatric classification framework and the many issues associated with it before going on to examine the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative, launched by the National Institute of Mental Health and aimed at transforming the DSM-ICD into an objective biological system that conceptualizes mental disorders as brain dysfunctions. You will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, utilizing the insights and ideas you acquired in the first week.
The course centres on questions about the nature of human cognition, how we explain it and the impact on psychiatry and the concept of mental disorder. These are key themes in the Philosophy of Neuroscience track, a joint initiative by the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam’s Department of Philosophy.
At the end of this course you: