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Philosophical Skills II


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to second-year students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives.


This course takes off where Philosophical Skills I ended. The aim of the course is to further develop the students’ writing skills, and to introduce presentation skills. During the first part of the course, students refine their writing skills by writing about a philosophical topic in appropriate English, with attention to clarity, coherence, cohesion and information structure. To practise this, they will write an academic literature review in English based on a set of academic texts about a specific philosophical issue. During the writing process, they will also learn to critically evaluate each other’s texts in intensive peer-review tasks, and to edit and revise their own papers according to the expectations of English readers.

The second aim of the course is to teach students to present the ideas they gathered for their literature review in fluent English in a coherent and attractive presentation. After all, philosophers not only publish their work in books and journals, they also share their insights at conferences. Such a conference presentation will often be based on a philosophical text or publication, but the structure of this text needs to be adapted for presentation, because spoken words are governed by different rules than written texts. In the second part of the course, we will therefore shift our focus to presentation techniques and verbal communication. During the final tutorials, participants will present the argument of their literature review in an academic mini conference.

Course objectives

This course aims to increase the ability of the student to communicate in English on philosophical matters, both in writing and in oral communication. These skills are practised by means of writing and editing assignments, through peer feedback in class, in presentation exercises and in a philosophical conference setting.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of :

  • the Academic vocabulary and the formal requirements of academic writing in English;

  • the differences in sentence structure and paragraph structure between English and Dutch;

  • the general expectations of English readers regarding the placing and sequence of specific types of information in sentences, paragraphs and entire documents;

  • the characteristics of English pronunciation and its specific challenges for Dutch speakers;

  • the role and function of visual aids in academic presentations;

  • the use of posture, diction, timing and interaction in presentations.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • write a paper on a philosophical topic that meets the grammatical and idiomatic requirements of academic English to such an extent that it can be converted into publishable English by a professional translator/proofreader without major adjustments;

  • discuss philosophical issues with colleagues in adequate English;

  • give a short presentation in English on a philosophical topic.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (50%)

  • Presentation (50%)

Class participation is a mandatory requirement for taking the tests and/or resit.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of two subtests (see above).


One resit will be offered, covering the writing of the paper. The grade for other the exam component (presentation) remains in place.
Satisfactory completion of the practical assignment (presentation) is a prerequisite for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • A. Osmond, Academic Writing and Grammar for Students (London 2013). ISBN 978-1-4462-1091-8 (E-book: ISBN: 9781446281727).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.



Not applicable.