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Intercultural Philosophical Hermeneutics


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including Griekse en Romeinse filosofie, History of Modern Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Analytische filosofie or Philosophy of Mind.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


As individuals we so often go about our busy schedules without the slightest glance in another’s direction, especially if that person is different from ourselves. But what if we were to stop, look around, and realize that together we can do great things. Sadly, this is easier said than done—or is it? Maybe it just takes a first step to systematically look at intercultural philosophy through a hermeneutic lens. Accordingly, the thrust of our study include: (i) understanding the intercultural modalities of hermeneutics (culture, religion, science, family, etc.), and (ii) the epistemic confluence (note: not hybridity) of comparative philosophies.

This seminar will investigate the intersection between philosophy and culture as a hermeneutic practice. We will explore the role of culture in interpretation and mobilization of ideas. Intercultural philosophical hermeneutics is about the influence of culture on the course of interpretation of ideas and also the influence of ideas on the development of philosophies and culture. We will use different methods. First, we examine where necessary, continuities and discontinuities between different traditions where it concerns philosophical practices (and interpretations) as an intercultural phenomenon. Yet, since this course beyond hermeneutics is also about interculturality, we will simultaneously examine the nature of culture and how culture continuously shape our interpretation of the world and vice versa. The course will encourage students to learn from these instances of cross-cultural encounter both about the problems and possibilities of cross-cultural engagement in thinking about their own approach to comparative philosophy.

We will examine academic texts, pop music/culture, advertisements, ethnographic films, biographies/autobiographies. Although we may not see it from our own perspective, we live in a much smaller world than our ancestors (Samovar, Porter, McDaniel & Roy, 2013). The way we conduct business, establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, keep ourselves healthy, our value of education all hinges on intercultural synergy. The following key questions will dominate our conversations: What is the relationship between ethics and intercultural philosophy? what is the significance of hermeneutics in interculturality? Does intercultural difference mean the absence of philosophical coherence in other traditions? What are some barriers that keep us from appreciating cultural differences? Could hermeneutics help us overcome such barriers?

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • Recognize how their cultural construal compares and contrasts with that of another.

  • Describe how personal contact, experience, the media, etc., brings to light how interculturality is a part of our world--past, present and future.

  • Compare and contrast how various cultures define the value of ideas and concepts as a hermeneutic experience.

  • Analyze the origins and ideals of various diverse cultures from the macro (individualism vs. collectivism) to the micro, sub-cultures.

  • Describe how language plays a key role in intercultural philosophy.

  • Reflect upon personal attitudes and perspectives in light of stereotypes, racism (sexism, ageism, etc.) and anxiety that is a product of our naiveté about others.

  • Develop strategies to turn negative perspectives and stereotypes into positive attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

  • Evaluate how intercultural philosophy and hermeneutics function within social business, medical, and educational contexts.

  • Think through some basic interpretive principles in their own approaches to intercultural philosophical engagement.

  • Learn, improve and develop critical writing and presentation skills.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Attendance and participation in class discussions

  • In-class student presentations

  • Final research paper


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests:

Attendance and participation in class discussions: 10%
In-class student presentations: 25%
Final research paper: 65%


The resit consists of the final research paper (65%). The remainder of the course grade will be determined by the other weighted components. The grades for participation and presentations remain in place.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Students will receive feedback on course presentations within one week of completing them.
Students will receive feedback on their research papers within 21 days, at the longest, of completing them.

Reading list

  • Course syllabus will be distributed via Brightspace.

  • Required reading materials will be announced in the syllabus and students will be expected to acquire access to reading materials either through University Library or their own purchase.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.