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The Turn to the Body in Modern Philosophy: Descartes, Spinoza, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche


Admission requirements

Some familiarity with the works of the philosophers mentioned in the course title is a big advantage.
à la carte-studenten hebben alleen toegang tot deze cursus met toestemming van de docent.


This course examines the central role of the notion of body in the works of four of the most influential thinkers in modern philosophy. The two key questions that this course addresses are: A) Why do these four philosophers have recourse to the body and to physiology in order to answer the philosophical questions that they face? and B) How exactly does the concept of body help them in the philosophical work they perform? Addressing these questions will offer a solid understanding of the connections between the four and a good grasp the intellectual tradition of which they were part and which they opposed.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be made available on Blackboard at the start of the course


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2013-2014 , BA Wijsbegeerte (BA Plus-traject of Standaardtraject), 3e jaar.
See Timetables Philosophy 2013-2014 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars

Course load

To be announced.

Assessment method

  • Active participation in the seminars including seminar-assignments and oral presentations (50%).

  • Paper on a topic of the student’s choice, subject to the express approval of the instructor (50%).


Blackboard will be used for posting texts and assignments.

Reading list

  • Descartes, Passions of the Soul and selected letters to Princess Elisabeth.

  • Spinoza, Ethics. Selections from Book 2,3 and 4.

  • Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Selected chapters.

  • Nietzsche, Various texts from the Kritische Studienausgabe (DTV/de Gruyter, 1980 ff.).


Please register for this course on uSis.
See Inschrijven voor cursussen en tentamens

Exchange students and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply. See also Registration for courses and examinations

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact information

R. Ioan, MA