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Comparative Philosophy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • second-year students BA Filosofie

  • 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 is an introduction to the Indian and Chinese Philosophical traditions. Topics to be covered include Confucianism, Daoism, Indian Buddhism, and a selection of the Brahmanical philosophical systems. A secondary goal of the course will be to introduce students to the practice of comparative/cross-cultural philosophy, that is philosophical study which draws significantly upon insights from at least two geographically distinct cultural traditions.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • introduce students to the Chinese and Indian Philosophical traditions;

  • introduce students to the practice of comparative philosophy.

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

  • basic philosophical positions and philosophical vocabulary of several of the most influential schools of Chinese and Indian Philosophy;

  • a basic understanding of the advantages of, as well as the potential difficulties in engaging with philosophical ideas comparatively.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • present this knowledge in written form (written exams);

  • formulate critical responses to these philosophical ideas and positions;

  • at an introductory level, work cross-culturally with philosophical ideas.


The timetable is available on the following website:

BA Filosofie

  • Filosofie, BA2 – BA Plus-traject

  • Filosofie, BA2 – Standaardtraject

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Class attendance is required.

Course load

Total course load 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • Attending lectures (13 weeks x 3 hrs): 39 hours

  • Written exams (2 x 3 hours): 6 hours

  • Preparation of classes and study of the compulsory literature: 95 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm written examination with short open questions and essay questions (50%)

  • Final written examination with short open questions and essay questions (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtest.


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once, consisting of a written examination covering the entire course content. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks for subtests.

Inspection and feedback

Exam review upon request of the student organized within 30 days after publication of the exam results.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Posting of class materials, such as syllabus, study sheets etc.

Reading list

Required reading

  • Gethin, Rupert. 1998. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press;

  • Ivanhoe and Van Norden. 2005. Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. Hackett. (For Confucius, Mencius, Dao-De-Jing and Zhuangzi).

Strongly recommended reading

  • Connolly, Tim. Doing Philosophy Comparatively. Bloomsbury Press.


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. S.E. Harris