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Values & Knowledge (MA)
The relation between values and knowledge is a central concern for any society. At present, it is widely assumed that the pursuit of knowledge is valuable only to the degree that it has measurable practical benefits as an outcome. Our MA programme offers a context for detailed consideration of this assumption. We identify and question the issues involved in it at deeper levels of analysis than are available through ordinary discussion.
This high level of critical scrutiny is made possible through the programme’s broad philosophical perspective - engaging with questions arising in other disciplines also. More specifically, our programme provides an in-depth study of different forms of values in terms of both their cognitive basis and their relation to other areas of knowledge and activity. We also consider the way in which knowledge has been defined and theorized since the Enlightenment. The programme combines historical perspectives and contemporary critical debates so as to provide a fund of analytic and argumentative skills that are advantageous for further work in philosophy or for competing in the job market. A notable feature of the programme is that students are given the opportunity to organize a peer-reviewed international graduate conference. In so doing, students of the programme engage in knowledge exchange with their international peers.
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System. Applications are welcome from students whose primary degree was in Philosophy or a cognate subject.
Who Teaches this Course
Requirements and Assessment
Applicants should have or expect to obtain a grade of an overall Second Class Honours, Grade 2 (H2:2) or higher with a Second Class Honours, Grade 1 (H2:1) in Philosophy in their first degree. Applications are welcome from students whose primary degree was in Philosophy or a cognate subject.
1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
Please view offer rounds website
Mode of study
1MVK1, full-time | 1MVK2, part-time
The full-time programme is completed over one academic year. Students must take modules and complete a minor dissertation to the value of 90 ECTS in total.
- Students must take modules and complete a minor dissertation to the value of 90 ECTS in total over two years
- Students must attain 30 ECTS in year 1 to progress to Year 2
- Students must attain 60 ECTS in Year 2.
The range of modules on offer may vary from year to year depending on staff availability
Research Methods CORE 10 ECTS
Philosophy seminar: participation and management CORE 10 ECTS
Dissertation CORE 30 ECTS
Political Values in the Modern World OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Moral Reasoning OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
The Philosophy of Emotion OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Knowledge and Value in Modernity OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Environmental Aesthetics OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Ethics and Artificial Intelligence OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Cultural Philosophy of Globalisation OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
Phenomenology of Art and Culture OPTIONAL 10 ECTS
PI6104 Research Methods—Dr.Heike Felzmann
This course will support students in developing advanced research skills in philosophy. Students will develop familiarity and competence with the advanced use of library resources and electronic databases relevant to philosophy research and will be introduced to the use of reference management programmes. They will discuss basic elements of advanced philosophical writing and will be supported throughout the different stages of developing their MA thesis. The module will comprise some on-line discussions via Blackboard.
PI504.I Philosophy Seminar: Participation and Management—Dr. Tsarina Doyle
This module allows students to do a substantial presentation of their research at discipline level, and to receive training and experience in both chairing seminars and contributing to them. Assessment is based on the presented paper in semester 1 or 2
Each student will write a 15,000-word dissertation, based on research into a topic of their choice, and supervised by a member of staff in Philosophy.
PI6103 Knowledge and Value in Modernity—Dr. Tsarina Doyle
This module will examine the issues of Value and Knowledge in the historical context of Modernity. Attention will be given to such issues as the character of human subjectivity, the relation between mind and world, objectivity, the status of natural science and human values, and the character of modern culture. A range of modern philosophers will be discussed, including Hume, Kant and Nietzsche. Attention will also be given to the intersections between modern and contemporary arguments.
PI6110 Ethics and Artificial Intelligence – Dr. Heike Felzmann
Artificial intelligence technologies have evolved dramatically in recent years, impacting on many areas of human life. Societal responses to these developments have ranged from enthusiastic optimism to deep suspicion. The module will explore prominent ethical issues arising in relation to the design, use and societal impact of Artificial Intelligence. Topics addressed in the module include Philosophy of Technology, Value Sensitive Design, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Privacy and consent, Contextual integrity, Transparency and explainable AI, Trust and Trustworthiness, Datafication, Algorithmic surveillance, Algorithmic Bias, Autonomous artificial agents and responsibility, and Human replacement.
PI6102 Political Values in the Modern World—Dr. Richard Hull
This course will look at the ways in which political values interact with the modern world. It will begin with an introduction to central political and ethical theories along with exploration of key distinctions that tend to be relied upon, whether implicitly or explicitly. It will then focus on current issues in political theory, concentrating on themes such as justice, equality, freedom, toleration and genetics. It will look at how these themes are contested in modern diverse democracies.
PI6108 Environmental Aesthetics—Dr. Gerald Cipriani
This module aims to provide students with an insightful understanding and critical grasp of environmental issues in relation to aesthetic values. The module will draw from a variety of philosophical and cultural traditions East-West to explore aesthetic conceptions of nature or the environment at large. Those include beauty, the sublime, the picturesque, the wilderness, the environment and the idea of milieu.
PI6105 Moral Reasoning—Dr. Heike Felzmann
Moral reasoning is conceptualised in fundamentally different ways, from being rational and principle-driven, to being based on intuition or affective processes, to being grounded in shared social practices. In this course students will explore different approaches to moral reasoning in relation to both historical and contemporary authors, and address the relation between philosophical analysis and psychological and neuroscientific findings.
PI6101 The Philosophy of Emotion—Dr. Felix O’Murchadha
This course will explore emotion and feeling from a phenomenological perspective. Taking account of classical phenomenological texts and contemporary debates, this course will consist in a discussion of the nature of emotion, an analysis of specific emotions and finally an exploration of some broader themes with respect to emotion, specifically with respect to the constitution of the self and the nature personhood.
SPA442 Phenomenology of Art & Culture—Dr. Gerald Cipriani
The module explores the phenomenology of art and culture. The lectures draw from the philosophical tradition that seeks to disclose and understand the formation of meaning as it appears in practice, perception and interpretation. The module therefore introduces the students to the methods and styles of phenomenology with particular reference to the visual arts and cultures. Phenomenology should not here be understood in the narrow sense of a dogmatic theoretical framework, but rather as a form of reflection that makes us both becoming aware of and contributing to the processes involved in meaning formation from different perspectives. Authors considered include Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and Lyotard.
PI6107 Cultural Philosophy of Globalisation—Dr. Gerald Cipriani
This module aims to provide students with an insightful understanding and critical grasp of ethical and aesthetic issues related to the phenomenon of globalisation. Those include the impact globalisation has had on identity formation, whether that of persons, cultures, or communities. The module will also consider the degree to which technology affects ethical and aesthetic values within the context of globalisation.
Why Choose This Course?
Graduates with this qualification will be eligible for doctoral research and careers in the public and social services, NGOs and journalism.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €3,500 towards your tuition. You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee. An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270. SUSI will not cover the student levy of €140.
Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.
What Our Students Say
Meghan Hind |
'I wanted an MA programme that combined flexibility with structure. I chose the MA in Values and Knowledge programme at NUI, Galway for the breadth of perspectives and topics offered in modules, its focus on research and presentation skills, and its philosophically rigorous questioning of the very concepts and structures that inform, surround, and even create our experiences of life. Not only has this MA programme met and exceeded my initial expectations, the sense of community among faculty and students, the participatory and engaging teaching styles of the professors, and the attention paid to the interests and needs of every individual student have made the programme a truly enriching and engaging experience. I wholeheartedly recommend it.' (Meghan Hind, US Mitchell Scholar on the MA in Philosophy (Values and Knowledge) programme)
Sean Comer |
I chose to study philosophy at NUI, Galway after considerable time and research. I wanted a university that focused as much on my educational and career path as I do. There is no question, the quality of the university and the appeal of the city were also factors. Galway, recently voted the best overall micro city in Europe by the Financial Times, is a student friendly, vibrant and lively city. I feel that the MA is unique in the way it encourages the student to examine and question contemporary philosophical concepts of values and knowledge. The range of optional modules allowed me to focus on subjects I had a direct interest in, while the core modules encourage you to develop skills in research and philosophical writing. The Philosophy Seminar: Participation and Management module in particular, gives an opportunity to research, write and present a paper to the philosophy department. This peer review process is invaluable in developing presentation expertise, which is vital for further academic study and useful in the world of work. I am delighted I chose to study Philosophy at NUI, Galway.