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Reasonable Disagreement


Admission requirements

BA in Philosophy, or a comparable level of knowledge


How should we, in a democratic society, respond to reasonable disagreement both about comprehensive doctrines such as religious, moral and philosophical doctrines and about fundamental political decisions? This has been one of the central questions in recent political philosophy, and it has lead to the development of Political Liberalism. In the last decade or so, the question of reasonable disagreement has also been the focus of debate in epistemology. There the question is how a person should respond when a person she considers to be her epistemic peer disagrees with her: should she just retain her belief, or should she suspend judgment?

In this seminar we will explore the issue of reasonable disagreement in political philosophy and epistemology, and investigate if and how these two debates are related to each other.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


See Timetables Master’s Programmes 2010-2011
Please note that for this course students have to attend two classes weekly.

Mode of instruction

Seminar: lecture with discussion

Assessment method

  • Presence and active participation in class (mandatory).

  • Two essays of approximately 3000 words each.


Reading list

  • Selections from John Rawls: Justice as Fairness, A Restatement and Political Liberalism

  • Additional material, especially on the epistemology of disagreement


Please register for this course on uSis. See registration procedure

Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

J.G. van Wietmarschen, MA


Specialisation: Ethics and Politics