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German Idealism


Admission requirements

  • Students in the BA programme Philosophy: first year BA has been successfully completed.

  • Prerequisites for students from other departments (including contractstudenten): first year BA has been successfully completed as well as the following course(s) in philosophy: Philosophy of Culture, History of Modern Philosophy.

This course has a limited number of places available for students from other departments.


In this course we will focus on the emergence of German Idealism in the immediate reaction to Kant’s transcendental philosophy. We will concentrate on Kant and three of the most notable figures to use his philosophy as a basis for their own systematic development: Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. These philosophers advocated a rethinking of the human being as the point of departure for a new orientation of philosophy: as the foundation of all other scientific undertakings. German Idealism is remarkable in that here is developed a systematic treatment of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy and aesthetics. During this module, we will read the classical texts of this period in order to understand, discuss and critically analyse themes such as the notion of the absolute, the relationship between the subject and an objective world, human freedom, the role of history and art.

Course objectives

This course aims to investigate the ideas as developed by German Idealism by drawing upon the texts of its key thinkers. Bachelor students will be expected to be able to compare, contrast and critically discuss the main arguments both written and orally.

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

  • the key ideas as developed by German Idealists and what these ideas are a response to;

  • German Idealism in the place of the history of philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • give a critical discussion of the ideas as developed by German Idealists;

  • formulate a reasoned argumentation of their position in the topics covered in this course;

  • present their ideas both orally and in writing.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2014-2015, BA Wijsbegeerte (BA Plus-traject or Standaardtraject), derde jaar.

See Timetables Philosophy 2014-2015 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures and seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours
Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 42 hours
Time for studying the compulsory literature: 56 hours
Time for completing assignments: 20 hours
Time to write two papers (including reading / research): 162 hours

Assessment method

  • Presentation (15%)

  • Final research paper (85%)

Class preparation and attendance are required and are conditions for submission of the paper.


Blackboard will be used for posting of texts and course information.

Reading list

There is no requirement to study literature before the start of the course.


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

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the collegerooster in the column under the heading “”.

Exchange students and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs
Registration Studeren à la carte: not applicable


Dr. R. Uljée