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Identity, Culture, Community


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 60 EC, specialisation Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy.


Many of the most pressing challenges of our time are global. Examples include poverty, climate change, refugee crises, financial and economic crises, the rise of nationalist movements, and terrorism.

Most agree that these challenges require global solutions. But the quest for solutions is fraught with disagreement. Much disagreement is about what constitutes effective and efficient solutions. Thinking through such disagreement is primarily a task for the natural and social sciences. But, often, what on the surface seems to be a technical disagreement turns out, upon reflection, to stem from a deeper moral disagreement about the nature of the problem and the justice of the solutions. Thinking about the moral problems associated with these challenges is primarily a task for philosophy. Philosophy can help us make the underlying issues explicit; it can also help us in assessing the comparative moral desirability of the different solutions and the associated moral cost.

Contemporary political philosophy has for the most part focused on problems that arise within political communities such as nation-states. But the global challenges we face raise unique problems. And, over the past two decades or so philosophers have been dedicating sustained and increased attention to the implications that globalization has for political theorizing.

This course can be divided in three main parts. In the first part we are concerned with personal identity and the importance of culture and community. Next, we move to questions that flow from the recognition of pluralism, different sources of identity and different ideas about how we should relate to each other – especially on the global level. How do we deal with such disagreement? Par three focusses on concrete problems in which such profound disagreements arise, like migration, terrorism, sustainability and gender equality.

This course explores some of the key philosophical debates that deal with topical global challenges. It offers a critical analysis of topics such as responsibility for global harms, cultural diversity, citizenship and nationalism, sustainability and climate change, political activism, international relations theory.

Course objectives

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

  • Debates about particularism vs. universalism;

  • Debates about distributing responsibility for harms;

  • Debates about the importance of culture, and cultural diversity;

  • Debates in global justice.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • synthesize the key argument and main disagreements as shown both in writing and oral presentations;

  • read and take position with regard to state-of the art scholarly literature in contemporary philosophical debates about identity, cultural diversity, responsibility and responsibility for global harms.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


Attendance and participation is required. One cannot pass this course if attendance criteria are not met.
A few short pre-seminar assignments have to be made in order to pass this course.

  • (Short) mid-term paper (30%)

  • Class presentation (10%)

  • Paper proposal (final paper) (10%)

  • Final paper (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the subtests (see above).


The resit consists of 1) a paper proposal (20%) and 2) a 10.000 word research paper (80%), replacing all other elements of the final grade.
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

Capita selecta, will be made available to the students on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • 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.