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German Idealism: Advanced Texts and Topics


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Modern European Philosophy

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Humanities


In this course we will focus on the emergence of German Idealism in the immediate reaction to Kant’s transcendental philosophy. We will 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. These philosophers advocated a rethinking of the human being as the point of departure for a new orientation of philosophy: as the foundation of all other scientific undertakings. 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 the classical texts of this period in order to understand, discuss and critically analyse themes such as the notion of the absolute, the relationship between the subject and an objective world, human freedom, the role of history and art.

Course objectives

This course aims to investigate the ideas as developed by German Idealism by drawing upon the texts of its key thinkers. Students will be expected to be able to compare, contrast and critically discuss the main arguments both written and orally.

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

  • the key ideas as developed by German Idealists and what these ideas are a response to;

  • German Idealism in the place of the history of philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • give a critical discussion of the ideas as developed by German Idealists;

  • formulate a reasoned argumentation of their position in the topics covered in this course;

  • use close readings to critically interpret the assigned texts and to place these texts in a broader philosophical context, going beyond the assigned readings where necessary;

  • present their ideas both orally and in writing.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Presentation (15%)

  • Final research paper (85%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtests (see above). A subtest can be graded as unsatisfactory.
Class preparation and attendance are required and are conditions for submission of the paper.


The resit will consists of one examination, a research paper. The mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
Class preparation and attendance are required and are conditions for submission of the paper for the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) 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

An additional reader will be made available through Readeronline.
There is no requirement to study literature before the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


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

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


Not applicable.