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Philosophy of Mind and Science

What is the Structured Elective about?

The modules in this structured elective offer a range of perspectives on what it is to know the mind and experience consciousness as well as theories about knowledge and related phenomena such as belief, evidence, justification, scepticism, disagreement and testimony. But what are mind, consciousness and knowledge? Why is knowledge valuable? Do we really know as much as we think we do? And what are the social and ethical dimensions of knowledge? How do the functions of our mind relate to what we call reality? These are the central questions addressed in this structured elective and we approach these questions by choosing to study logic, and/or studying ancient and contemporary readings in the parts of philosophy that are concerned with the mind and the study of knowledge. 

Why should I take this Structured Elective?
Philosophical questions are very general and cut across the other domains of human knowledge. The philosophical way of answering these questions is for the most part the use of reason, as opposed to observation or experiment as in natural science, and as opposed to revelation or direct insight as in religion. Furthermore, Philosophy is uniquely general: it seeks to understand how all the other domains of human knowledge and culture fit together, and how, in the most general terms, they connect to reality. In taking this elective you will be enabled to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in studying philosophical questions and methods to intellectual enquiry more broadly as well as specific pragmatic concerns.

How would this Structured Elective benefit me?
There are four key benefits to taking this structured elective:

  1. Employability:The first is that it signals to future employers that you have an interest and some aptitude for considering philosophical issues and methods which allow for a reflexive and ‘big picture’ view. As new technologies impact and radically change the business world a broad approach to making analysis and responding to challenges is becoming increasingly valued;
  2. Making Judgements:This structured elective in Philosophy will offer students the opportunity to learn about the philosophical frameworks and methods through which they can attain a greater understanding of the skills of enquiry, argumentation, analysis and critical thinking that are the central focus of philosophy and complementary to the study of all other academic subjects.
  3. Communications and Working Skills: Perhaps more than most (and certainly more than many) disciplines, philosophy places an emphasis on dialogue in the formation of knowledge. A philosophical argument invites objections and seeks to refine its relevance and insight by making responses to objections. Tutorials are thus a central component of the module where students are encouraged to practice recognising the premises of arguments, to analyse if the moves that are made to support an argument are internally consistent and to construct objections to premises and the process of arriving at the claims of valid conclusions. These skills are fundamental to most professions and will remain transferrable across a range of careers.
  4. Learning Skills:In studying philosophy, students are required to develop skills in verbal and written communication, problem-solving, clear and disciplined thinking and analysis, along with robust and persuasive argumentation.

How do I take the modules in the Structured Elective?

  • In order to earn this Structured Elective you must take the specified modules in or after 2019/20
  • To receive this Structured Elective you must take the required modules as General Elective modules and not as Core or Option modules.
  • Students must pick 3 modules (15 credits) from the list of modules below to be eligible for the structured elective in Philosophy of Mind.
  • Over the course of your undergraduate studies you will have the opportunity to take elective modules in each year of your programme, so if you wish to undertake this Structured Elective in Philosophy of Mind, you must ensure that at least three of your elective choices are from the list below.
  • Students who successfully complete 15 credits in Philosophy of Mind will have this automatically noted on their final UCD degree transcript. The transcript will state that you have completed 'Structured Elective in Philosophy of Mind’, in addition to your main degree subjects.
  • Students must pick three of the following modules to be eligible for the structured elective. It recommended that modules are taken in the order of level 1, level 2, level 3
Module Title Credits
(opens in a new window)PHIL10020 Intro to Probs of Philosophy 5
(opens in a new window)PHIL20020 Logic 5
PHIL20320 Philosophy of Science 5
(opens in a new window)PHIL20490 Knowledge & Scepticism 5
PHIL20640 Philosophy of Mind 
(opens in a new window)PHIL30070 Philosophy of Language 5
PHIL30690 Science, Perception & Reality 5
PHIL30820 Hume & Kant 5
PHIL30880 Applied Epistemology 5
PHIL30890 Wittgenstein 5

Module listing updated July 2023

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