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Practical Judgement


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Moral and Political Philosophy

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Law, Governance, and Politics;

Students are expected to have background knowledge of History of Political Philosophy, Political Philosophy, and Ethics.


The contribution of philosophy is not only in helping to understand the world in general and how it could be improved, but also in helping us to make wiser decisions in our own lives. This course focuses on this first personal ‘how-to’ aspect of philosophy and covers topics such as how good to try to be; how to overcome weakness of will; how to atone for wrongdoing; how to judge between conflicting knowledge claims; or how to make life-changing decisions (such as parenthood).

Some of these topics have a political as well as a personal dimension, such as how we as individual citizens (or as political office holders) should decide what to do under conditions of uncertainty and conflicting expert advice (as in the response to Covid-19).

Course objectives

This course aims to complement the more theoretically oriented (philosophy) courses you are following by building a bridge from general truth seeking to successful acting.

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

  • key philosophical resources for making wiser decisions in a range of areas.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • address an original first personal problem by finding relevant philosophical texts and, if necessary, translating them from a general into a first-personal perspective.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required and includes preparatory reading and small written assignments.

Assessment method


  • Midterm essay (20%)

  • Final essay (80%);

  • Participation and weekly discussion notes (pass/not pass) - a ‘pass’ is required to complete the course.


The final mark for the course is determined by (i) the weighted average of the two essays combined with (ii) the class attendance requirement.


Students can resit the Final Essay if their overall grade for the entire course is 5 or less. This requires writing a new essay weighted at 80% of the grade. It is not possible to make up for the attendance requirement or midterm essay.

Inspection and feedback

Students will have an opportunity to discuss the grading of their essays with the instructor.

Reading list

Literature will be made available through Brightspace at the start of the course.


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.


Dr. T.R. Wells


Not applicable.