Non-Degree / Dates: 9-13 July 2018

Despite centuries of advancements, the human mind still seems to be an unsolvable mystery in mainstream psychology today. One reason may be that modern psychologists still search for answers in the wrong place (usually in the brain).

In this course, another path is taken – a path grounded by continental European scholars between 1880 and 1950 (among them, Koffka, Werner, Vygotsky, Luria, and Anokhin). Picking up from where these scholars left off, we will go further and find answers to several interesting questions, among them: What is life? What is the mind? (We will also find that the mind is not in the brain, but rather emerges in the interaction of the brain and mental environment).

We will then dive deeper to discover that the nature of the human mind is qualitatively different from the minds of all other mental beings we know. We will endeavor to explain human consciousness, free will, and some other uniquely-human ways of being. And in the end, we will close by taking a closer look into how humans – even ‘thought being’ humans – can be very different depending on the stage of thought development available to them.

Some may think this course proposes too much – that it is surely impossible to cover so much in just one week. But if the course really provides what is promised here, there is a lot to gain: you may really learn to know thyself. And what could be a more noble aim?

Why this course?

  • We will seek answers to seemingly-impossible questions like “What is the mind?”

  • We will explore the unique differences between human minds and the minds of all other living species.

  • You will learn to know and understand yourself like you never have before.


Aaro Toomela is a Professor of Cultural and Neuropsychology at Tallinn University, Estonia. His research interests cover all main fields of psychology—cognitive, developmental, cultural, social, personality, biological, evolutionary, and applied—as well as philosophy, history and methodology of psychology. He has authored scientific papers in all of these fields.


Monday, 10:00-14:00: Introduction. Philosophical background. Essence of (scientific) explanation. Theories of causality.

Tuesday, 10:00-14:00: Defining the field: understanding what is life, environment, the mind, etc.

Wednesday, 10:00-14:00: Nature of the human mind: how humans are different from all other animals.

Thursday, 10:00-14:00: Consciousness, free will.

Friday, 10:00-14:00: Development of the human mind.


This course is suitable for students, specialists, or those interested in psychology, philosophy, and related fields.

A basic background in scientific psychology will be helpful, but is not required.

Credit points

Upon full participation and completion of course work by July 20th students will be awarded 3 ECTS points and a diploma of completion.

Course fee

Early-Bird Course Fee (until March 31, 2018)245€
Regular Course Fee (after March 31, 2018)295€

NB! Accommodation and meals are not included in the price.


General Contact (Registration, accommodation, cultural programme, etc):

Information about the course content: Dash Stanford –