I currently study philosophy at an undergraduate level at Trinity College Dublin, and I am interested in pursuing philosophy of mind at a graduate level – certainly with a PhD. That's the hope anyway. I have considered perhaps doing something like an MPhil at Cambridge. Yet, I am concerned that a lot of work in philosophy of mind doesn't seem to take into account where it sits on the boundary between science and philosophy, and a lot of what we get is some sort of babble that doesn't fit into what we know from science. Often, there is a lot of stuff that thinks it is informed by science, but really isn't – out of simple ignorance. I like David Chalmers's views on this: "Everything I say here is compatible with the results of contemporary science; our picture of the natural world is broadened, not overturned." I have considered completing an MSc in Neuroscience that doesn't take things from a philosophy perspective. There are quite a few programs, such as one at my own university, that accept students who come from a philosophy background, but are not actually philosophy-based, but instead the actual science of neuroscience. I think there would be a lot gained from doing something like this, because I am truly interested in making headway at the issues in philosophy of mind, while being informed about the science side of things. My question is: how would an MSc in Neuroscience be viewed when applying to a Philosophy PhD program, such as the one at MIT (which allows the possibility of coming out with a minor in cognitive science)? Would that "year away from philosophy" hurt me – and even if the "year away" isn't the issue, would having completed a non-philosophy MSc be viewed negatively? How about if I was to go on to do the one-year MPhil at Cambridge (maybe it would even be an issue applying for this) after the MSc and then apply to PhD programs? I am interested in US programs, for a multitude of reasons. I have also thought that doing post-doctoral fellowships could perhaps help me with the neuroscience side of things, but I am quite interested in completing a formal degree in the subject.

Well, I think your plans sound great. But of course I would, since I helped develop the Neurophilosophy Track in the MA program in philosophy at Georgia State University (www.gsu.edu/philosophy). I'm not just advertising! (though you might consider our program.) I'm suggesting that your view of philosophy of mind as continuous with the cognitive sciences is a prominent one (and the right one to boot!). Many PhD programs in philosophy (including MIT, but also Washington University's PNP program, UC San Diego, CUNY, Pitt HPS, Indiana, and others) have people and programs focusing on empirically-informed philosophy of mind. Most of them would appreciate your taking some time to study neuroscience or other cognitive sciences. Most of them would allow you to pursue such courses while doing your PhD in philosophy (and some have certificates in cog sci). So, go get an MSc in neuroscience and/or apply for MA or PhD programs that would allow you to get some rigorous training in the relevant sciences. And then join the wave of researchers in philosophy and some of the relevant sciences who see our fields as a joint project aimed at figuring out how the most complex thing in the universe (the brain) does all the remarkable stuff our minds do.

Read another response by Eddy Nahmias
Read another response about Education, Philosophy