How to Choose a Topic for your Philosophy Dissertation
Philosophy is a discipline that covers many potential areas of research. Philosophy is a very playful discipline, as it allows students and researchers to speculate on the different factors that affect our understanding of material reality. This is why it is so crucial to choose the dissertation topic well. Undergraduate and postgraduate philosophy students are oftentimes confused about the choices that are available to them when they embark on the process of writing their dissertation. And let’s face it, the feedback that they get from their supervisors is often not sufficient enough to enable them to make the right choice when it comes to choosing a dissertation. But we can help. Our team of writers has a significant level of expertise in various areas within the field of study of philosophy.
Philosophy students are advised to choose topics that enable them to engage with the scholarly literature on the subject of their choice. This is a very important aspect of the process of writing a dissertation. Students who pay attention to the ongoing debate on the various areas of the discipline of philosophy tend to get higher marks.
Students should also make sure that they feel comfortable with the subject that they are researching. In the following sections, students will be able to find information about some of the most important issues related to the field of philosophy, including ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of mind.
Ethics is a field of study within philosophy that deals with the way in which concepts of right and wrong should be identified and defended. The field of ethics is concerning with the assignment of value to the behaviour exhibited by individuals. The study of ethics is aimed at determining what constitutes morally-accepted behaviour. Within the field of ethics, it is possible to identify three particular fields of study. First, meta-ethics, which concerns the link between truth value and moral propositions. Second, normative ethics, which deals with the practical methods that need to be applied for determining the right course of moral behaviour. Third, applied ethics focuses on establishing how a person should exercise a moral choice. Here are a number of dissertation topics that can be written in the field of ethics:
- What are the main aspects of the debate between cognitivism and non-cognitivism in the field of meta-ethics?
- Does moral scepticism enhance our knowledge in the field of ethics?
- In which way does normative ethics enables us to establish right or wrong moral choices?
- Is Stoic philosophy successful in establishing a strong normative ethical framework?
- What are the main implications of the deontological ethical framework provided by Kantian philosophy?
- Is Habermasian discourse theory a worthy successor of Kantian philosophy?
Political philosophy focuses on the interaction between the concepts of justice and liberty in the manner in which the social contract is established. Political philosophy deals with the way in which laws should be implemented and the manner in which they should facilitate the actualization of people’s rights. Political philosophy is also concerned with questions of legitimacy and recognition. There are a number of relevant sub-disciplines within the domain of political philosophy, including the history of political thought, identity politics and post-structuralist political thinking. The history of political thought deals with the way in which the ideas that inform the social contract that prevails in the Western world were configured. Identity politics with the manner in which the normative framework that prevails in the social sphere should be aligned to materialize the rights of individuals and particular social groups. Post-structuralist political thinking is concerned with contesting some of the premises of the Western social contract as it originated during the Enlightenment period. There are a number of potential dissertation topics that can be highlighted:
- In which way is the rejection of meritocracy by Michael Sandel inimical to the concept of liberty endorsed by classical liberalism?
- Is progressivism a novel ideological subject or a revamp of classical liberalism?
- How has the push and pull between liberty and justice affected the development of political theory in the Western world?
- In which way did John Rawls’ “theory of justice” lead to the propagation of identity politics?
- Has identity politics exacerbated the spectrum of social fragmentation in Western societies?
- Has Western political thinking slid into nihilistic tendencies upon the onset of the age of globalization?
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is an area within the discipline of philosophy that is very popular in British, American and Commonwealth universities. Philosophy of mind focuses on the ontological and functional implications of the relationship between the mind and the body. This is an issue that has occupied the attention of philosophers since classical times. In the modern age, philosophy of mind practitioners have focused on the monist and dualist approaches to the study of consciousness and mental states in general. This is an area of study that has significant repercussions for our understanding of mental properties and functions and the relationship between the body and the mind. The dualist approach to the study of the philosophy of mind is centred of the ideas of René Descartes, which posited that the mind exists independently of the body. Conversely, those who espouse a monist approach to the study of the philosophy of mind, such as Benedict Spinoza, claim that the mind and the body are not independent entities. There are a number of relevant dissertation topics in this area of study:
- In which way does the dualist philosophy of mind framework proposed by René Descartes promote the idea of a functionalist approach to understanding of mental states?
- Is the idea of consciousness a physical or mental phenomenon?
- How is the notion of behaviourism linked to the monist position in the field of philosophy of mind?
- What are the implications of the interactionist perspective on the dualist position espoused by René Descartes?
- In what way has the monist-dualist debate affected the debate regarding the notion of consciousness in neuroscience?
- Is the idea of consciousness explainable by referring to biological occurrences?