Admission to one of the following programmes is required:
MA Philosophy 60 EC: PPE, or Ethics and Politics
MA Philosophy 120 EC: Philosophy of Law, or Philosophy of Political Science
Many of the most pressing challenges of our time are global challenges. Examples include terrorism, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, refugee crises, financial and economic crises, and the rise of nationalist movements.
Philosophers can contribute to meeting these challenges by clarifying the concepts and underlying assumptions in terms of which we think about the problems and their possible solutions. As it turns out, in present-day discussions of global challenges there is often a deeper and largely implicit disagreement about the nature of the problem to be solved. Philosophy can help by making the underlying issues explicit, and by inviting us to rethink our conceptual framework and basic assumptions.
One example is the question of sustainability. Few will deny that sustainability is a good, but there is no consensus on what makes questions of sustainability pertinent in the first place. Is it our duty toward future generations? Do we have obligations to non-human animals as well, or even to all forms of life? Are there good reasons for wanting to keep ecosystems intact in their current form? Other examples pivot on the notion of citizenship. Does living in a globalizing society entail that we should become global citizens? And if so, how does this affect traditional modes of identity, agency and commitment rooted in local and national communities?
This course will address a number of topical issues such as cultural diversity, citizenship and nationalism, sustainability and climate change, political activism, non-ideal theory, and international relations theory.
We will approach these questions in five different parts. Part I of this course will focus on the importance of culture and community: why does it matter that people have and maintain their own value systems? Part II shifts to disagreements about values, how do we deal with the fact that different people hold different values? Part III moves to conflict, and aims to think through what happens when different world views lead to outbreaks of violence. Part IV, on a more optimistic note, looks at reasons and opportunities for cooperation. Part V, briefly, looks forward. Is there such a thing as convergence on a “right” view, should we aim to foster global consensus?
Students who successfully complete this course will have a good understanding of :
debates in particularism versus universalism;
debates about the importance of culture, and how to deal with cultural diversity;
philosophical questions in global politics.
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
synthesize the key argument and main disagreements as shown both in writing and oral presentations;
read and take position with regard to state-of the art scholarly literature in contemporary philosophical debates about identity, cultural diversity, global disagreement and international conflict and cooperation.
The timetable is available on the MA Philosophy website
MA Philosophy 60 EC, or MA Philosophy 120 EC
Mode of instruction
Class attendance and active student participation is required.
Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours
Attending seminars (13 weeks x 2 hrs): 26 hours
Preparation seminars / assignments: 24 hours
Study of compulsory literature:120 hours
Writing of paper: 110 hours
(Short) mid-term paper (20%)
Final paper (40%)
Paper proposal (10%)
Class presentation (10%)
The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (midterm, final test). A subtest can be graded as unsatisfactory.
Note: attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from submitting a final paper and will have no access to the resit.
The resit will consist of a written final paper, which will have to be defended in an oral exam. The the mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.
Blackboard will be used for:
announcement of our presentation schedule
announcements re. planning
Readings will be made available at the start of the course.
Enrolment for courses and exams through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch
Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for and exams in the column under the heading “uSis-Actnbr”.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs