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Core: Philosophy of science


Admission requirements

No special admission requirements.


This course is part of the faculty’s core curriculum. We will discuss general themes from the philosophy of science, the unique nature of the humanities, as well as several philosophical positions and currents of thought that have had a large impact on the humanities, such as structuralism, hermeneutics and postmodernism.

We study in detail the methods of modern science: what are they, where do they come from, and what can we expect from them? We try to answer these questions by looking at thinkers such as Popper, Kuhn and Foucault. We will also study several philosophical movements that are important for the unique questions that come up in the humanities. For instance, we look at hermeneutics (Dilthey, Gadamer), structuralism (De Saussure) and postmodernism (Derrida, Rorty). Other thinkers we will discuss are, for example, Hegel, Marx, Collingwood, Hempel, White and Nietzsche. At all times we will reflect on the nature of science in general, and our special position as researchers in the humanities.

The course thus offers both a reflection on the practice of science, especially in the humanities, and an introduction to central concepts and ideas from 20th and 21st century thought that nobody working in our fields should be ignorant of.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students should:

  • be able to reflect on and discuss questions about the nature of the humanities in a group of fellow students;

  • have gained insight into the nature of science in general and the humanities specifically;

  • know the most important currents of thought that have shaped and are still shaping the sciences and the humanities.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Assessment method

  • Written examination with multiple choice questions

  • Practical group exercise


Written examination: 100%.
The practical group exercise must have been adequately performed in order to gain access to the exam.


written examination

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

Literature: teacher’s course book , and a reader.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact : Humanities Student Information Desk


Disclaimer: Please note that the course descriptions, in particular the assessment method, might be adjusted (timely) depending on the measures taken regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.