nl en

Modern French Philosophy


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree obtained. Global knowledge of modern philosophy since Hegel.


Modern French philosophy forms a field of its own in contemporary philosophy. It was largely influenced by several major intellectual currents: Marxism, psychoanalysis, and phenomenology. In addition, the solitary figure of Nietzsche should be mentioned, without whom contemporary French thought would not have developed, either.

In this course we will study some main lines in modern French thinking. We will particularly focus on a specific motive: the Law. This motive will be explored in three decisive French thinkers: Georges Bataille, Gilles Deleuze en Jacques Derrida.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2013-2014 , MA Philosophy 60 EC en 120 EC.
See Timetables Philosophy 2013-2014 , Timetables MA Philosophy 60 EC/120 EC.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars

Course load

Attending lectures and seminars: 42 hrs
Studying the compulsory literature: 50 hrs
Completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college: 52 hrs
Writing a paper (including reading / research): 136 hrs
Total course load: 280 hrs

Assessment method

  • Conclusive paper (45%)

  • Weekly assignments (45%)

  • Attendance and particpation (10%)

Adequate elaboration of the weekly assignments is a prerequisite for admission to the completion of the course.


Blackboard (digital learning environment) is used for posting of instructions or texts, discussion, posting of questions for the instructor or fellow students etc.

Reading list

  • Vincent Descombes, Modern French Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981 (or the original French edition: Le Même et l’Autre, Paris: Minuit, 1979).

  • Texts from Bataille, Deleuze and Derrida, to be had from the University Library or the Internet.

Studenten are required to do their weekly reading assignments in advance.


Please register for this course on uSis.
See Inschrijven voor cursussen en tentamens
See Registration for courses and examinations

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

Not applicable.


Dr. H.W. Sneller


Although the language of instruction is English it is highly recommended to study the reading texts in French.