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Philosophy of Culture


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • first-year students in BA Filosofie, who have been enrolled in the BA Plus-traject

  • first-year students in BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

  • 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.


The course proposes an overview of the main theories of culture. It begins by addressing the question “what is culture” by paying particular attention to the views of culture as Society (Rousseau, Locke), as Bildung and cultivation (Kant, Herder, Humboldt, Nietzsche) as habitus (Mauss, Bourdieu) and as Episteme (Foucault). It then moves to a discussion of the anatomy of culture: how are cultures established (Rousseau, Nietzsche, Freud)? How do they maintain themselves? How do they transform themselves (Weber)?

Course objectives

The course aims to acquaint the students with the key theories, problems and arguments of the philosophy of culture. It presents a critical overview of the canonical answers to the questions “What is a culture?” and “How a culture constitutes itself”?

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

  • the main definitions of cultures (including culture as cultivation, episteme, worldview and history);

  • the main arguments aout the constitution of cultures;

  • the conceptual constraints to the projects of inter/multiculturalism.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically understand, comment and interconnect the major texts and theories relative to culture;

  • present a consistent view of the basic points of disagreements about culture and its constitution;

  • propose and defend both in writing and orally, basic arguments pertaining to any section of the course.


The timetable is available on the following websites:

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Class attendance is required.

Course load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hours

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

  • Preparation of classes: 18 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 45 hours

  • Time for completing the midterm take home exam: 6 hours

  • Preparation final assignment: 32 hours

Assessment method


  • Mid-term take-home exam, made of a series of short questions: 35%

  • Final take-home essay, dealing with the entirety of the course (one question taken from a list of three: 65%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two subtests.


The resit consists of one examination, covering the entirety of the course material, consisting of a take-home essay on one imposed question taken from any section of the course. No separate resits will be offered for subtests. The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.

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:

  • posting texts

  • posting general information documents (syllabus etc.)

  • posting assignments and updates

Reading list

All texts will be made available on Blackboard at the beginning of the semester, alongside the reading schedule.


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. F. Chouraqui


Not applicable.