CCHU9051 Arts and Humanities
Mysteries of the Human Mind

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • The Quest for a Meaningful Life / The Universe and the Question of Meaning (UQM)
  • The Human Life Span (HL)

Course Description

The human mind is the foundation of society and culture, and it is something we are intimately acquainted with. But at the same time, its underlying nature is still shrouded in mystery and hard to explain.

This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the fascinating complexities of the mind. It involves philosophical analysis, scientific investigation, and an awareness of history and the broader social and moral implications of technology. A central issue is whether the mind is a computer. Can computers display intelligence, creativity, and emotions? Can the computer model of the mind explain the mysteries of consciousness and free will? Or do these mental phenomena require the existence of a soul?

These issues are exciting not just because they are intellectually important, but also because to understand the mind is to understand ourselves better. We will see how the ideas in this course can help us become better thinkers, and improve our creativity and decision-making skills. We will also discuss how science and technology can challenge our conception of the self and how they might affect future human evolution in radical ways.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Describe and explain the key features of the mind such as consciousness, emotions, creativity, and reasoning.
    2. Identify and critically evaluate the central debates surrounding the nature and reality of consciousness, the self, free will, and Artificial Intelligence.
    3. Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques and explanatory power of an inter-disciplinary approach to the mind.
    4. Appreciate divergent conceptions of selfhood and personhood, and articulate their ethical and societal implications in the context of technological change.
    5. Use the findings from the course to critically review one’s own thinking skills, character and work habits.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Reading / Self-study 50
Film and video viewing 2
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 25
Assessment: Special project 25
Assessment: Quiz 1
Total: 135

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial participation 15
Brief writing assignments 20
Quiz 15
Essay 25
Portfolio 25

Required Reading


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr A. Chaturvedi
School of Humanities (Philosophy), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2796
Email: amitc@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr A. Chaturvedi
School of Humanities (Philosophy), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2796
Email: amitc@hku.hk