The Objects of Thought

Course details

From £205.00
10 CATS points

23 Jan 2019 - 27 Mar 2019
Day of week

The Objects of Thought


This course concerns ‘the mind’s direction on its objects’. What links thought and object? What are the components of thought? What is the relation between thought, language & perception? Do objects exist when we are not perceiving or thinking about them? How can we think about non-existent objects? Philosophers’ views on these and related topics have diverged sharply.

The course will be structured to juxtapose and clarify these divergences. Philosophers discussed will  be in the analytic tradition, and include Locke, Berkeley, Frege, Russell, Kripke, Campbell, Recanati, Dickie and Crane.

Programme details

Term Starts: 16th January 

Week 1:          The components of thought: ideas; concepts

Week 2:          Objects unperceived: Berkeley's puzzle.

Week 3:          Objects perceived; direct realism: Campbell

Week 4:          What's wrong with the sense datum theory

Week 5:          The 'aboutness' of thought: Imogen Dickie

Week 6:          Does object perception require concepts?

Week 7:          Does thought of objects require language?

Week 8:          Mental files & singular thought: F. Recanati

Week 9:          The intentionality of thought: Tim Crane

Week 10:        Thinking about fictional objects


Background Reading

Francois Recanati., Mental Files

Imogen Dickie., Fixing Reference

Tim Crane., The Objects of Thought

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Course fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Julia Weckend

Julia has taught philosophy at the Universities of Reading and Southampton before joining the OUDCE as a tutor in 2014.

Course aims

To familiarise students with some key problems in the philosophy of thought, language and perception

Course Objectives

1. To enable students to grasp some key distinctions in the philosophy of thought, language and perception

2. To enable students to recognise a philosophical argument and respond appropriately.

3. To encourage students to spell out the detail of their own philosophical views.  

Teaching methods

Lecturer presentation with frequent pauses for clarification and discussion. Students will be asked to prepare at home a philosophical reading or a philosophical problem sent to them in advance of the class. Students will encouraged to engage in class discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. have a basic grasp of some of the key issues in the philosophy of thought, language and perception.

2. evaluate a philosophical argument, both verbally and on paper.

3. develop and support with argument their own view on one of the topics.

Assessment methods

End of course essay of 1500 words; or student presentation of 15 minutes supported by notes on one of the topics covered;  Either option to be preceded by a draft proposal which will receive feedback from the tutor; or 5 x 300-word pieces in response to questions on class material.  

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

No previous experience in philosophy is required or assumed, though it will enable students to engage more fully in class discussion. The course will appeal more to those who enjoy wrestling with philosophical problems than to those who seek illumination on the human condition.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)