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Philosophical Skills I


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • students enrolled in the BA programme 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 aim of this course to train various essential philosophical skills such as:

  • understanding the aim and structure and various kinds of philosophical texts (paper, commentary);

  • identifying, analysing and developping arguments;

  • commenting on other philosophers’ work;

  • finding and using additional literature (library training);

  • formulating a good research question;

  • recognising and avoiding plagiarism;

  • citing, referencing and paraphrasing;

  • writing a philosophical paper;

An additional aim of this course is to acquaint students with central discusisons in metaphilosophy such as; what is philosophy, what are its research methods; what, if anything, counts as evidence in philosophy, what is the relation between philosophy and our day-to-day lives, etc.

The accompanying tutorial sessions aim to acquaint students with ongoing philosophical research. Philosophy is not a stock of wisdom, but an ongoing practice of asking questions. Which are the right questions to ask? How are they interconnected? Can we hope to answer them, and if so, how? In this series of biweekly lectures philosophers of the Leiden Institiute for Philosophy present samples of their ongoing research. The lecture series aims to give first-year students an idea of the handwork of philosophy.

Course objectives

This course aims to train students essential philosophical skills concerning reading, understanding, researching and writing philosophical texts. Additionally, the course aims to acquaint students with the central debates in metaphilosophy. The tutorials aim to acquaint students with ongoing philosophical research.

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

  • examples of ongoing philosophical research projects at Leiden University.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • understand the aim and the structure of a philosophical text;

  • identify and analyse arguments in a philosophical text;

  • comment on the work of other students;

  • find relevant literature on a topic in philosophy;

  • write a text on metaphilosophy;

  • describe in their own words examples of ongoing philosophical research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures and seminars (2 hours per week)

  • Tutorials (a series of 6 short lectures, each 1 hour)

Class attendance is required for both lectures and seminars and tutorial.
The tutorial is not mandatory for pre-master's students.

Assessment method


  • Written assignments: 70%

  • Final paper: 30%

  • Written report of one of the tutorial sessions.

Students cannot pass this course if they haven’t obtained a satisfactory mark for every assignment.
Sufficient attendance is required to be able to pass this course.


The final mark for the course is established by determing the weighted average of the subtests (see above). Additionally, the written report of one of the tutorial sessions must be graded as sufficient.


Students cannot pass this course if they haven’t obtained a satisfactory mark for every assignment. Assignments for which a satisfactory mark has been given cannot be taken again. Assignments for which a satisfactory mark has not been given may be taken again once. Thus, the resit consists of redoing the assingments for which the student didn’t get a satisfactory mark in the first instance.

Sufficient class attendance is required and is a condition for taking 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.

Reading list

  • Martinich, A.P. (2016). Philosohical Writing: An Introduction, Wiley Blackwell (4th ed.).

Further literature will be made available via Brightspace.


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.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.