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Introduction to German Idealism


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • 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 History of Modern Philosophy, Cultuurfilosofie, Continentale filosofie, Philosophy of Mind.

  • 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, Philosophy of Culture, Concepts of Selfhood, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • 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 A.


In this course, we will focus on the emergence of German Idealism in reaction to Kant’s transcendental philosophy. We concentrate on Kant and three of the most notable figures to use his philosophy as a basis for their own systematic development: Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. German Idealism is remarkable in that here is developed a systematic treatment of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy and aesthetics. During this module, we will read calassical texts by these authors in order to understand the basic themes and problems German Idealism responds to, as well as the various strategies through which they do so. Our point of departure will be the so-called ‘Copernican turn’ in philosophy associated with Kant, through which reason becomes the autonomous touchstone for knowledge, reality and freedom.

Course objectives

  • To give you a basic academic understanding of German Idealism

  • To further develop your ability to read and discuss primary literature

  • To further develop your ability to write an autonomous paper


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

No class on: March 9, 30, April 27, May 18

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Midterm paper: Discussing a thesis suggested by the teacher (2000-2500 words, incl. footnotes)
Deadline: 31st of March

Final Paper: a 3000-3500 (incl. footnotes) word paper in which the student discusses and critically analyses (at least) two of the authors covered in this course, dealing with one of the themes addressed during the course. Paper proposal must be approved by teacher beforehand.
Deadline: 23rd of June

Please submit your papers online through Brightspace.


Midterm paper (35%)
Final paper (65%)

Attendance and preparation. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than two classes, you will be asked to write a paper in which you discuss the readings for the weeks you have missed. If, due to logistical or health-related reasons, you cannot come to the campus, please inform the lecturer. Each student submits (Brightspace) a 300 word summary of the text each Wednesday before class. These are requirement for writing the final paper!


The course offers one opportunity for a resit, in the form of a paper. You cannot retake the paper-exam if your original grade was already sufficient. Students that do not meet the attendance and preparation requirements cannot take the resit.

Reading list

Primary texts by Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.
Specific texts tba on brightspace and in the syllabus(before the 10th of January)


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

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