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Metaphysics, 21st-century style


Admission requirements

Advanced BA-level knowledge of philosophy.

Toehoorders / à la carte-studenten hebben alleen toegang tot deze cursus met toestemming van de docent.


One of the most exciting new developments in metaphysics is the rise of ‘speculative realism’, which covers a number of attempts to finally move beyond post-Cartesian and post-Kantian philosophy. Virtually all modern philosophy is bound by the idea that reality is the correlate of subjective experience. After Kant it seems impossible not to conceive of reality as either a front show phenomenon or a backstage noumenon, both being framed by finite conditions of subjectivity. A growing number of philosophers are challenging this constraint, including Quentin Meillassoux (speculative materialism), Graham Harman (object-oriented philosophy), and Ray Brassier (transcendental nihilism). Their common concern is to cure philosophy from “correlationism”.

In this course we’ll start with discussing Meillassoux’s short book After Finitude (2008), and add other readings as needed.

Course objectives

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


Tuesday, 12:00-15:00

See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2011-2012 , BA Wijsbegeerte (BA Plus-traject of Standaardtraject)
See Timetables Philosophy 2011-2012 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English

Mode of instruction

Lecture, tutorial, individual study of source materials.

Assessment method

  • Student presentations (25%)

  • Term paper (75%)



Reading list


  • Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude. An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency (London: Continuum, 2008).

Recommended (available on the Internet)

  • Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound. Extinction and Enlightenment (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

  • Levi Bryant, Nick Snricek & Graham Harman (Eds.), The Speculative Turn. Continental Materialism and Realism (, 2011).


Please register for this course on uSis.

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

Aanmelden à la carte en contractonderwijs

Aanmelden voor Contractonderwijs via:
Na aanmelding ook inschrijven voor cursus en tentamen(s) via uSis

Contact information

Dr. J.J.M. Sleutels


The course will be taught either in English or in Dutch, depending on student requirements.

Specialisatie (BA Wijsbegeerte): Theoretische filosofie