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About us University College Groningen Education Majors Humanities

Truth, Meaning and Rationality


In this specialisation within the Humanities Major, you will get to analyse the very nature of truth, meaning, rationality, reality and values. You will explore a number of human dilemmas from a philosophical perspective. The key subjects in this field are Ethics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Technology.

What does it mean to act morally good or to think rationally?
What is the meaning of “truth”?
What does it mean to “mean” something in the first place?

There are no boundaries to the depth that you can study a field. No question is excluded as "too basic" in this specialisation.

The topics discussed within the Truth, Meaning and Rationality Specialisation are not only philosophical questions. They are directly relevant to many societal problems.

In other words, philosophy can be translated into concrete problem-solving. That is typical of human nature! Asking arbitrarily profound questions but always finding a tangible application.

You will also explore aspects of Logic, Epistemology, Political Philosophy, Rationality Theory and Aesthetics.

So, what societal issues are addressed?

Together with other students in class and based on reading materials, you will discuss big dilemmas like: what is science? And how does it differ from pseudo-science? These are directly relevant to attitudes concerning vaccination, climate change policy or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how such attitudes can be rationally influenced.

In the typical Liberal Arts and Sciences fashion, this specialisation tackles questions such as:

How do people convince each other? How do we learn through arguments? What makes feedback useful?

Argumentation is key to bringing your point across. This will be a building block of this Specialisation within the Humanities.

Also, you will explore the debate on consciousness and sentience. What does it mean to be a sentient organism? Are animals sentient? If so, how do we know? Could artificial intelligence be sentient? Would that have ethical consequences?

What are typical questions that students are likely to encounter on assignments?

Here are some examples of essay questions or assignments you will be working on in teams.

  • What makes a true statement true?
  • What is a logically valid argument?
  • What distinguishes science-based claims from others?
  • What makes an action morally right?
  • Is there an objective reality?

In which direction can I continue my studies or career?

Philosophy allows you to consider the important dilemmas in life. This is a learning opportunity for you to logically analyse and communicate ideas, which are abilities that many employers are seeking.

This specialisation leads naturally to Master degrees in the domains of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Logic and Ethics. But many other choices are possible, depending on your choice of Minor.

Philosophers work in all sorts of organisations and fields in a variety of roles. Continuing your studies in research is, of course, also an option. Students might decide to take up teaching, writing or counseling in business or the public sector.

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Last modified:06 October 2021 5.36 p.m.