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Topics in Comparative Philosophy: Cross-Cultural Hermeneutics


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year.


This special Topics in Comparative Philosophy course will be devoted to an examination of Cross-Cultural Philosophical Hermeneutics, or the theory of textual and cultural interpretation. Our approach will be to examine instances in cross-cultural philosophical encounter between modern to contemporary Asian and Western thinkers to see what lessons we can draw from these encounters.

We will in this course be reading analytical works on two seminal modern European philosophers, namely Leibniz and Heidegger, who spent considerable parts of their philosophical careers studying aspects of Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist thought and who, in varying degrees, were philosophically influenced by these traditions. We will then turn to two contemporary Asian philosophers, namely J.N. Mohanty and the Dalai Lama, who have turned their study of different Western philosophical traditions, phenomenology and philosophy of science, to analyses of classical Asian systems of thought. We will, in the course of our studies, attempt to focus on the complex hermeneutic problems and possibilities of cross-cultural philosophical reflection, both for general historical and philosophical purposes as well as to hone good methodological skills for doing cross-cultural philosophical work ourselves.

Course objectives

To be announced.


The timetable is available on the BA Filosofie website

  • BA Filosofie, BA3 – BA Plus-traject and Standaardtraject

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Class attendance: 13 x 3 = 39 hours

Further calculation of the course load to be announced.

Assessment method


  • Attendance and participation in class discussions (10%)

  • Class group presentations (10%)

  • Midterm paper (40%)

  • Final paper (40%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests. A subtest can be graded as unsatisfactory.
Class attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from submitting a final paper.

Academic Integrity

Students who plagiarize assignments or cheat on any test will receive failing grades on the assignment, and may be dropped from the class. All such instances will also be reported to the appropriate university office.


The resit will consists of one examination, a paper. The mark will replace all previously earned marks. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests. 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.

Exam review

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.


Blackboard will be used for:
To be announced.

Reading list

Required reading materials

  • Franklin Perkins, Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light. Cambridge, 2004 (on reserve).

  • Lin Ma, Heidegger on East-West Dialogue: Anticipating the Event. Routledge, 2007.

  • J.N. Mohanty, Essays on Indian Philosophy: Traditional and Modern. Oxford, 1993.

  • Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. Broadway Press, 2006.


Enrolment for courses and exams through uSis is mandatory.

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof. dr. D.L. Berger


Not applicable.