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Undergraduate Courses - Module Content  

First Year 


PI4711 Basic Questions in Contemporary Philosophy 

This module introduces students to Philosophy by exposing them to accessible contemporary treatments of the basic questions in the area, such as freedom, mind-body problem, personal identity, and subjectivity, language and culture, science and technology, ethics and politics.


PI4722 Philosophy and Film

This module is designed to introduce students to certain key issues in the relation between philosophy and film and to the reasons why there is, at present, a growing interest in the relation between these means of expression. It will also explore some of the ways in which film can significantly contribute to reflection on certain ethical, metaphysical, religious and epistemological matters.

Second Year 


PI4728 Ethics

This course breaks down into three parts. Firstly, Meta-ethics -- the question of objectivity in ethics. Secondly, the three standard classical theories -- Naturalism, Utilitarianism and Kant's. Thirdly, practical ethics. Further details are as follows: Hume and the ethics of sympathy; G.E. Moore and the naturalistic fallacy; the history of the emotive theory: Ogden, Richards and Ayer; Prescriptivism: Stevenson and Hare; Is morality an illusion? J.L. Mackie; Ethical Motivation: Egoism and Altruism; Plato: Psychic justice and the practice of the virtues; Aristotle and eudaimonia. Utilitarianism: Bentham and Mill; Deontological Theory.

PI4744 Political Philosophy

The main objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the works of some of the most influential political philosophers, through history, with attention also given to more contemporary thought. We will analyse the concepts articulated by these philosophers, paying attention to their divergent perspectives on some of the most important questions of contemporary political philosophy. Some of the questions we will address in this course are the following: How are citizens formed and how should they be educated? What are the rights and obliga-ons of ci-zens and from what do they stem? What is a decent or fair society, with chances or flourishing for all?


PI4743 Knowledge, Critique, and Modernity

This module examines the transformation of the entire Western intellectual tradition effected by the work of the rationalist (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) and empiricist (Locke, Berkeley, and Hume) philosophers of this period, culminating in the transcendental idealism of Kant. Descartes and the egocentric turn; methodic doubt and the 'Cogito' principle; matter, mind, and the body-mind problem; Spinoza's pantheistic monism: holism versus reductionism in theory of knowledge; Leibniz's monadology; freedom and determinism in Leibniz's philosophy. Newton, Locke and Leibniz on human knowledge and the nature of reality; Locke and the empiricist tradition: experience, knowledge and the principle of induction; the representative theory of perception; Berkeley's subjective idealism; Hume on induction and causation, and his ethical subjectivism. Kant's response to Humean scepticism: transcendental idealism and the ethic of duty.

PI4712 Greek Philosophy

The module examines the golden age of Greek philosophising which began with Socrates (470-3990), was continued by Plato (429-348) and was brought to a conclusion by Aristotle (384-322). The course begins with an account of Socrates and the Sophists; significant time is dedicated to Socratic dialectic as a way of reaching moral values, principally Justice; contemporary implications of this are discussed. Plato's account of the trial of Socrates is studied in detail; the Platonic theory of knowledge, of the Forms/Ideas, of the soul are all introduced. The political theory of The Republic is introduced. The course finishes with a brief account of Aristotle's logic and epistemology, his hylemorphic and causal analysis of nature to explain its changeableness and of eudaimonia, the goal of the virtues.

Third Year

OC4310 and OC4320 Off-Campus Programme

B.A. students follow the Off-Campus Programme for both semesters of the third year. This is comprised of international study placement and / or relevant work placement. Philosophy students who wish to study abroad are advised by department staff on the availability of appropriate courses. Guidance is also provided for those who wish to use the opportunity to begin research work for final year projects in Philosophy. 

Final Year


PI4777 Philosophy of Science and Technology

The aim is twofold: to cover both historical and contemporary philosophical conceptions of science and technology, and to cover and problematize the relation of philosophy to science and technology.

PI4718 Philosophy of God and Religion

The course falls into two parts: the first focuses on evidence for the existence of God and seeks to understand His relationship with the world; the second deals with the nature of religion as a fundamental human phenomenon. The first part of the course will consider contemporary accounts of the origins of life and the universe; metaphysics and the question of origins; the intelligibility of the universe; randomness and order; the structure of intelligence and the structure of being; the act of unrestricted understanding; Persons and Eternal Thou; personal being; interpersonal relationships and their ground; faith and fidelity; suffering and hope.


PI4717 Contemporary European Thought and Culture

This module explores the main trends in contemporary European thought from phenomenology through to existentialism and to various instantiations of post-modernism. These three schools of thought are historically, culturally and thematically connected and their influence on contemporary intellectual life is undiminished. As such, this module offers students an in-depth understanding of the historical and conceptual development of phenomenology and existentialism in the twentieth century and the specific impact these movements have had upon contemporary European thought.

PI4747 Aesthetics

This modules looks at defining ‘the aesthetic’ and ‘aesthetic experience’: theories of the nature of art and aesthetic judgement: art as representation and mimesis; art as expression; genre and tradition; art as play; the institutional theory of the ‘artworld’; art as ideology: selections from: art and the emotions; the relationship between aesthetic and moral values; the ontological status of fiction and the relationship between art and truth; the nature of metaphor; art and reception; the aesthetics of photography and film.

PI4707 Undergraduate Dissertation in Philosophy

An opportunity for personal work / study, with supervision, on an approved philosophical topic.

PI4708 Undergraduate Dissertation in Philosophy

An opportunity for personal work / study, with supervision, on an approved philosophical topic.


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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