To provide students of diverse backgrounds (in particular health care or Philosophy) with the theoretical tools that will help them understand the existential meaning of illness and care in a philosophically grounded way. To acquaint the students with the work of various continental philosophers (such as, for example, Heidegger or Levinas) who have written on existence and illness. To clarify many of the concepts central both to health care and to contemporary existential philosophy, such as care, illness, anxiety, guilt, death or responsibility. To provide students with an advanced understanding of the conceptual and ethical principles regarding health care and thus to help them reflect on their own practice. To provide students with skills to access and critically appraise research findings to develop their own practice. To develop critical, analytical and research skills, and transferable skills. To produce graduates capable of working in the field of health care, and/or equipped with the research skills appropriate to the advanced study of continental philosophy. To produce graduates who can conduct independent, critical research and construct coherent, well written papers. The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate student. It is the intention of the Department that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more. Details of the different standards expected for the various classes of degree can be found in the Student Handbooks produced annually by the Departments of Philosophy and Health and Human Sciences.
This MA provides health care practitioners and students of diverse backgrounds with the theoretical tools that will help them understand the existential meaning of illness and care in a philosophically grounded way. Drawing both from health and human sciences and from the writings of various philosophers (in particular twentieth-century phenomenologists such as Heidegger or Lévinas), the modules on the MA clarify many of the concepts which are central to health care, such as illness, anxiety, death or solicitude, and bring out their ethical implications.
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : The work of continental philosophers studied during their degree.
A2 : The issues and concepts which are central to existential philosophy.
A3 : Some of the key concepts and issues related to health care practices.
A4 : Engage critically with the relevant texts and the secondary literature pertaining to them.
A5 : Form and present personal and reflectively acquired views on the issues arising from their studies, and use these to shape their own practice.
A6 : Critically appraise research findings to question routine practice.
A1 - A6 are acquired through attendance at seminars which allow for dynamic interaction based on directed, pre-set reading, and through participation to interactive classes, which encourage dialogue between the students and teacher and between the students inter se. Students are expected to undertake independent research for modules. They will sometimes be asked to give short, non assessed presentations, followed by discussions. They also have the opportunity to participate in the MA Writing Workshop, an intensive term-long workshop offered by the Philosophy Department which requires the students to hand in short essays every week as well as to present their work in class. Feedback is given very quickly and discussed with the students.
Testing the knowledge-base for A1 - A6 is through module essays. Formal assessment is also carried out through the marking of the final dissertation.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : Identify accurately the issue(s) which require researching.
B2 : Critically evaluate the merits of particular arguments and advanced scholarship in the field.
B3 : Highlight and if possible remedy argumentative deficiencies such as unquestioned assumptions, superficial analogies or logical faults.
B4 : Demonstrate self direction and critical thinking in tackling and solving often complex problems.
B5 : Present their own well-structured and carefully thought-out arguments.
B6 : Apply relevant primary and secondary sources.
B7 : Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate his/her conclusions clearly.
B8 : Demonstrate and exercise originality of thought in the application of knowledge.
B9 : Have acquired the ability to plan and conduct (under the guidance of a supervisor) a piece of independent research, and to present it in a coherent and argumentative manner.
Skills B1 - B9 are obtained and developed through seminars and interactive classes where there is an emphasis on group discussion and analysis of case material and problems (hypothetical and actual). They are also developed through essay writing, and mostly through the exercise of selecting and pursuing a dissertation topic. These skills are also fostered by supervisory sessions during the preparation of the dissertation.
Skills B1 - B8 will be assessed through module essays and the dissertation. B9 will be assessed by the dissertation.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : Express themselves in a clear, argumentative and rigorous way.
C2 : Identify, select, retrieve and synthesise up-to-date information, using both paper and electronic sources.
C3 : Use and apply philosophical terminology and concepts, not only in philosophical settings, but to applied problems, actual or hypothetical.
C4 : Plan and undertake tasks in and beyond complex areas of philosophy or health care that have already been studied.
Skills C1 - C3 are developed through active participation in seminars and classes, and through research for the module essays and dissertation. Skill C4 is particularly developed through the module essays and dissertation. In addition to traditional research methods, students are, whenever appropriate, expected to use the internet, when researching their assessed work in order to find primary and secondary sources, either in on-line or paper format.
Skills C1 - C4 are assessed through the module essays and the dissertation
D: Key Skills
D1 : Present knowledge or an argument in a clear, coherent and relevant manner.
D2 : (a) Produce a word-processed essay and other text in an appropriate form; (b) use the worldwide web, e-mail, and also some electronic information retrieval systems.
D3 : Not applicable.
D4 : (a) Identify the problem(s) that need solving through the analysis of complex texts and data; (b) articulate critically the assumptions or hypotheses underlying or connected with the problem(s); (c) provide arguments in defence of their solution to the problem(s); (d) apply the knowledge and methodology acquired to solve practical issues.
D5 : Not applicable.
D6 : (a) Organise their work within deadlines; (b) reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make constructive use of feedback; (c) appreciate when s/he does not know enough and needs to undertake further research; (d) learn independently.
Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 are acquired through seminars, classes and case studies (when relevant) where students debate issues and problems, module essays and the dissertation. Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 will be learnt through writing module essays and through the consequent feedback, and the dissertation.
Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 are assessed through module essays and the dissertation.