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Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including History of Modern Philosophy, Cultuurfilosofie, Continentale filosofie, Philosophy of Mind.

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Philosophy of Culture, Concepts of Selfhood, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package A.


Aesthetics: the dynamic interplay of art and philosophy
In the domain of aesthetics, philosophers from diverse viewpoints have consistently struggled with the dynamic interplay between philosophy and art. This course will examine how this relationship is reflected in the aesthetic theories of two prominent Twentieth century philosophers: Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze. Moreover, it will connect their ideas to more recent debates on the connection between art and philosophy, as they have been explored from decolonial perspectives, with the aim of discovering modes of expression that escape the dominant categories of Western philosophy.

  1. An exchange between art and philosophy: the role of critique or criticism.
    As a first area of investigation, we will focus on the philosophy of Walter Benjamin. In several of his early essays, Benjamin insists on demonstrating the profound difference between the domains of philosophy and art. At the same time, he argues that the coherence or ‘unity’ of philosophy can only be preserved by a project of ‘critique [Kritik]’ and ‘art criticism [Kunstkritik]’ that relies entirely on the interpretive potential of individual works of art. According to him, this project of critique/criticism “seeks to discover siblings of the works of art. And all genuine works have their siblings in the realm of philosophy.” We will see that this mutual affinity between art and philosophy will be stressed even more in the second and third lines of inquiry.

  2. Art as form of thought: the common trajectory of philosophy and art
    It is through Gilles Deleuze’s emphasis on the interconnected nature of philosophy, art, and science as creative practices that a second area of investigation is provided. Deleuze asserts that both artists and philosophers possess a thought-provoking capacity that generates diverse forms of thought. There is no reason to grant philosophy special privileges as the sole discipline capable of pursuing thought. Thinking can occur through the invention of philosophical concepts as well as the creation of cinematographic images, musical compositions, color and line combinations, or literary language.

  3. Art as philosophy: allowing other modes of expression
    In our third and final area of investigation, we will focus on efforts to decolonize Western philosophy by employing poetic forms of expression and considering art as a form of philosophy. At one extreme of this spectrum is Léopold Sédar Senghor, a Senegalese poet and philosopher who contends that the African intellectual tradition is largely expressed through art. According to Senghor, African art goes “beyond the law of the beautiful” in the sense that it also expresses “a metaphysics, I mean an ontology, and an ethics.” He views art as a form of philosophy in its own right. At the other end of the spectrum, there are thinkers who emphasize the necessity of allowing and developing new modes of expression, as highlighted in the title of Audre Lorde's essay, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House.” These new modes of expression are primarily found within the realm of art.

Together, these three areas of investigation will provide us with a comprehensive overview of the multiple ways in which philosophy draws inspiration from art, as well as the manner in which art contributes to philosophy, and the ways in which art can be seen as constituting philosophy.

Course objectives

This course aim to provide the students with a clear view of:

  • a particular trajectory within modern Aesthetics in which the focus starts to shift from understanding art as a creative some of new ideas that still need to be conceptualized by philosophy to an understanding of art as forms of thought in its own right;

  • the various conceptions of art that emerge within this trajectory;

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

  • the various views on the dynamic interplay between philosophy and art;

  • the differences between these views and the reason behind those differences;

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically analyze and interconnect a great variety of texts on the aesthetics of disorientation with each other and link them to traditional discussions in aesthetics;

  • develop an original and relevant research question in which various view on the relations between art and philosophy are discussed and further developed.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance and active participation is required.

Assessment method


Graded assessments

  • Book review

  • Final paper on a question agreed in advance based on the submitted proposal

Non-graded practical exercises

  • Students will have to present, at least once, their interpretation of one of the texts and discuss it with the group.

  • Each student has to hand in a proposal for the final essay and discuss it with the rest of the group.

  • Each student has to do a peer review of the proposals of two others.

  • In the last seminar, each student will have to present a draft version of the paper.

These four exercises will not be graded, but are required for getting admission to the exam (final paper).


  • Research project (30%)

  • Final paper (70%)

The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the graded subtests.


Satisfactory completion of practical assignments (presentation, proposal) is a prerequisite for taking 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

We will conduct the course in English, using English translations. The students are invited to read the original text if they speak that language (German, French, Russian, etc.). These original texts are often freely available on the Internet. Texts will be made available through the library.

Selections from:
Benjamin, Walter. Selected Writings, volume 1-4. German original: Gesammelte Schriften (Werkausgabe). 12 Bände.
Césaire, Aimé. Resolutely Black: Conversations with Francoise Verges.
Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (French orginal: Logique de la sensation)
Deleuze, Gilles. The Movement-Image. Cinema 1. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. French orginal: L’image-mouvement. Cinéma 1.
Deleuze, Gilles. The Time-Image. Cinema 2. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Caleta. French orginal:L’image-temps. Cinéma 2.
Deleuze, Gilles. What is Philosophy? (French orginal: Qu'est-ce que la philosophie?)
Diagne, Souleymane Bachir. African Art as Philosophy: Senghor, Bergson, and the Idea of Negritude. French original: Léopold Sédar Senghor: *L’art africain comme philosophie.
Eisenstein, Sergei. Selected Works, volume 1-3.
Kentridge, William. *In Praise of Shadows.
Lorde, Audre. *Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Senghor, Léopold Sédar. Prose and Poetry.
Westfall, Joseph. The Continental Philosophy of Film Reader.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. 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.


  • 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.