Advances in neuroscience not only open doors to an unprecedented ability to explain, predict and control human behaviour, but also raise philosophical and ethical questions about their potential risks, benefits and broader societal consequences.
What are the implications of neurotechnologies such as deep brain stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation for our understanding of self and personal identity? When is neuroscientific evidence admissible in a court of law? How can we translate fundamental neuroscientific insights into psychiatric practice?
Other questions concern the scientific practice of neuroscience itself. What sort of explanation do neuroscientists provide? Is there a method or model that unifies the various neuroscientific sub-disciplines? What justifies the claim that mental disorders are caused by dysfunctional brain mechanisms? In this Master's programme, you’ll address issues like these at the interface of neuroscience, philosophy and psychiatry. You’ll learn how to communicate about these issues with non-academic parties (like patients, health practitioners and policymakers), and you’ll contribute to a better practical understanding of neuroscience and its implications.
This is a small-scale programme, meaning you’ll work a lot in small groups and receive plenty of attention from the teaching staff. But you’ll also benefit from working with students and teachers whose backgrounds are in different disciplines. All students following a Philosophy specialisation take the core introductory philosophy courses, which means you’ll come into contact with people specialising in bioethics or law as well.
Most students in the Philosophy of Neuroscience programme have a background in neuroscience, and follow a second Master’s programme at the same time – such as the Neuroscience Research Master’s at VUmc. This means you’ll come out with two Master’s degrees – it’s a tough study load but an attractive proposition for future employers or academic institutions.
The start date of this programme is September 1st.