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Advanced History of Philosophy: Aristotle Facing Global Challenges


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • History of Philosophy


Aristotle is not just a famous ancient philosopher of notable historical interest. He first distinguished and practiced several of the natural and social sciences we are still practicing today, and considered under what conditions they could contribute to one another. In this advanced history course we read relevant portions of Aristotle alongside modern scholarship with the purpose of understanding and discussing the following topics: the grounds for differentiating and combining sciences; the physics and physiology of empiricism; the relation between method and practice in biology; the status of artifacts; the status of women and slaves in Aristotle’s social philosophy; and his format for a rational theology. Every week we shall also pay attention to some of the impact Aristotle’s ideas have had in later centuries, to this very day.

Course Objectives

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

  • the different parts of Aristotle’s philosophy in their original context

  • factors that influence the reception of a philosophical text and thereby the historical development of philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • read and interpret more complex primary texts;

  • assess differences and agreements between philosophical positions and arguments;

  • reconstruct debates on the interpretation of Aristotle;

  • critically assess modern secondary literature on Aristotle;

  • argue convincingly for his/her own interpretation of Aristotle’s texts

  • critically assess and develop applications of ancient philosophy to global challenges today


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

  • lectures with discussion (max 2 hours per week)

  • (group) discussion of primary and secondary literature starting from questions provided with the readings, with additional assessments / questions / arguments arising from the student’s own reading

Assessment Method

  • Participation in class (10%), Ongoing

  • Weekly assignments (6*10%), Ongoing

  • Essay (30%), Week 8

Reading list

Access to the Complete Works of Aristotle (ed. Barnes):

  • Volume 1:

  • Volume 2:

Additional literature will be indicated in the syllabus.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Prof.dr. Frans de Haas,

Contact: appointment scheduled by email after class