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Truth and Its History


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Wetenschapsfilosofie or Philosophy of Science, and Analytische filosofie or Language and Thought.

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


Truth is normally regarded as the highest epistemic value and attainment. However, the concept of truth and ways of implementing it have had many guises in intellectual and broader history. In this course, we will look at ways in which truth has been conceptualised in philosophy and in various social and political contexts. Topics to be treated include: truth and trust in seventeenth-century natural philosophy, the rise of statistics, and the challenge of digital technologies.

Course objectives

A student who has successfully completed this course will have knowledge of and insight into:

  • philosophical and other conceptualisations of truth;

  • the dependence of notions of truth on intellectual context;

  • implications of the above for the practice of science.

A student who has successfully completed this course will be able to:

  • discuss and evaluate conceptions of truth in intellectual history;

  • apply these categories to specific contexts;

  • put forward and justify viewpoints in this area in oral presentation and in writing


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Oral class presentation;

  • Final written paper.


The final grade for the course is the result of the weighted average of the grade for the two subtests:

  • Oral class presentation: 20% of the grade;

  • Final written paper: 80% of the grade.


  • A student admitted to the resit will write a final paper (100% of the grade).

Active participation in class is required for admission to the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination 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.

Reading list

Prescribed literature available online. A reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis for this course is not possible. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

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


Not applicable.