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Political Philosophy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • second-year BA students in Filosofie, enrolled in the BA Plus-traject

  • second-year BA students Philosophy, enrolled in the Global and Comparative Perspectives track

  • international pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.


This course offers an introduction to contemporary political philosophy. By reading a range of modern classics, from Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault to Robert Nozick and John Rawls, students will gain familiarity with key concepts and debates. We consider questions such as: what is politics, and what is it to act politically? What (if anything) justifies the authority of the state? What is justice, and what would a just society look like?

Course objectives

The course aims to give students a basic grounding in contemporary political philosophy.

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

  • some fundamental concepts in political philosophy;

  • some of the critical problems that they raise in theory, as well as in political practice;

  • selections from works by some of the most influential twentieth and twenty-first century political theorists.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • knowledgeably discuss questions of understanding and application of the theories and authors considered in the course.


The timetable is available on the following websites:

Please note:

  • Students in BA Filosofie: BA Plus-traject must enrol in tutorial group 101.

  • Students in BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Philosophy, as well as international pre-master's students, must enrol in tutorial group 102 or 103.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (2 hours per week)

  • Tutorials (2 hours per week)

Class attendance is required for both lectures and tutorials.

Course load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures (13 weeks x 2 hrs): 26 hours

  • Attending turorials (13 weeks x 3 hrs): 26 hours

  • Exams (2 x 3 hours): 6 hours

  • Preparation of classes and study of compulsory literature: 48 hours

  • Preparation exams: 34 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm written exam: 40%

  • Final written exam: 60%


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests.


The resit consists of one written examination for all parts at once, onsisting of a written exam covering the entire course content. No separate resits will be offered for subtests. The resit replaces all previously earned marks for subtests.

Inspection and feedback

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:

  • Course information

  • Announcements

  • Reading list

Reading list

  • The full reading list will be posted on Blackboard prior to the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

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.


Dr. T. Fossen


Not applicable.