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Comparative Philosophy


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


This course commences from the foundational question of whether Philosophy is really an entirely European pursuit, or whether it can be found in other parts of the world. Basic to this is the question of what Philosophy actually is, how it relates to culture and identity, and what kinds of (intellectual and institutional) politics sustain it in its present form. In the age of the Global University, what kinds of (intellectual and ethical) imperatives are at work to drive the development of comparative and global perspectives on Philosophy?

Drawing on case studies from around the world and through different periods of history, this course not only considers the shape of Philosophy today but also the ways in which different peoples at different times have sought to formulate their own Ways to Wisdom. Hence, this course will consider thinkers and texts from various European and Asian traditions of thought, seeking the contours of an answer to the question: where is philosophy, and who are the philosophers?

Course objectives

The course aims to give students an understanding of the central questions, concepts and arguments in debates about the foundations of Philosophy itself, framed as an inquiry into comparative and global philosophy. In addition, it aims to encourage students to conside the ideological and ethical parameters of the field and its claims to universalism.

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

  • the politics of knowledge around the discipline of Philosophy today;

  • the various ways in which Philosophy has been defined and developed in Europe;

  • the various ways in which the love of wisdom and philosophy have been defined and developed in Asia;

  • the various ways in which European and Asian conceptions of the philosophical have touched and interacted, especially in the modern period;

  • the (historical and conceptual) integrity of Philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • read primary texts (in translation) from a range of philosophical traditions with the confidence needed to analyse, reconstruct and critically evaluate key arguments in them;

  • participate in class discussions in such a way that they make intelligible and well-reasoned claims or responses to questions raised;

  • write clear and detailed reconstructions of specific arguments from primary texts.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2015-2016, BA Wijsbegeerte (Standaardtraject), eerste jaar.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (with discussion)

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load (5 EC x 28 hrs): 140 hours

  • Attending lectures: (14 weeks x 2 hrs): 28 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 82 hours

  • Time for completing assignments: 10 hours

  • Time for completing take home exams (2 × 10 hrs): 20 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation in class and Web-assignments: 20%

  • Mid-term (take home) exam: 30%

  • Final (take home) exam: 50%


The resit consists of one (take home) examination (in two parts) for both written components. No resit is possible for participation and web-assignments. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term test. The resit covers the entire course content and the mark will replace previously earned marks for subtests. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.


Blackboard will be used for texts, announcements, and discussion, as well as for web-assignments before each class.

Reading list

To be announced. As much as possible, readings will be made available through Blackboard.


Please register for this course via Study administration system uSis
See also Inschrijven voor cursussen en tentamens

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “”.

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs
Registration Studeren à la carte


Drs. M. Dijkstra