Research strands


Acquisition of the rationalist attitude theoretical, historical and methodological fundaments as well as the understanding of associated research instruments. After this unit, students should be able to:
1. Capabilities of intellectual rigor, rational logical thinking, information criticism and of its sources, autonomous learning.
2. Intellectual curiosity, inquisitive and critical attitude.
3. Knowledge of the evolution of rationalist thinking.
4. Ability to grasp scientific evidence based on the main approaches of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
5. Understanding science nature and the modalities of knowledge creation.
6. Ability to place issues in the correct historical and cultural context.
7. Capacity to be able to critically balance rationality and morality.
8. Mastering the epistemiological critique of the truth notion.
9. Understanding the ethical imperatives, namely in clinical and animal research and knowledge of its legislation, standards and procedures.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Filomena Pereira


Weekly - A definir entre o estudante e o docente responsável

Total - 39

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Descartes, R., “Discurso do Método”
• Althusser, L., “Filosofia e filosofia espontânea dos cientistas”, Ed. Presença, 1976.
• Popper, K., “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”, 1934, ISBN 0-415-27844-9
• Sokal, A. e Bricmont, “Imposturas Intelectuais”, Gradiva, 1999
• Artigos diversos de Skeptic,
• Textos e excertos dos epicuristas, de Francis Bacon, de Espinosa, de Kant, de Bertrand Russell.
• Ensaios e artigos sobre temas polémicos do momento.

Teaching method

Minimum theoretical classes of introduction and framing. Theoretical-practical sessions, interactive, informal.
Tutorial guidance.

Evaluation method

Continuous assessment, taking into account the capacities of understanding, mental organization, initiative, revealed during the seminars and the tutorial discussions. Final written examination.

Subject matter

I. Scientific Rationality: Actual high amount of information, correct and incorrect and consequent critical difficulty. Context: times of crisis, millenarianisms, "conspiracies", esoterisms. Fallacies. Essential aspects of science: quantification, sampling, exemption, objectivity. Observation, classification, experimentation, theorizing. Modeling and prediction. Serendipity. Popper's philosophy of science, falsifiability. The scientific method. Rationalism: from antiquity to enlightenment to the moderns. Formal and dialectical logic. Science and humanism, today.
II. Intellectual integrity; Notion and consequences of plagiarism.
III. Bibliography and databases. Writing: articles, protocols, projects, reports.
IV. Bioethics: Theories, principles, methods. Dignity in death, abortion, medically assisted procreation, diagnosis and genetic manipulation; Rights of patients and participants in clinical trials; Legislation and regulation; institutional bodies; Discussion of cases and jurisprudence.


Programs where the course is taught: