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Psychology, Ethics, and Education from Antiquity to the Present


Admission requirements

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

  • Students in the BA programme Griekse en Latijnse taal en cultuur: first year has been successfully completed.

  • Prerequisites for students from other departments (including contactstudenten): first year BA has been successfully completed as well as the following courses in philosophy: Ancient Philosophy, Ethics.

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


In ancient and medieval philosophy the two areas of philosophical psychology and ethics are intertwined. If ethics describes how people should live to become happy, the analysis of their psychological make-up determines to what extent (if any) they are in fact predisposed to achieve that kind of life. Platonic, Peripatetic, Stoic and Christian traditions all develop this connection in converging ways. Predispositions, of course, are no guarantee for success. It is here that the philosopher as educator makes an entry: philosophers can guide the way to happiness by providing self-awareness about one’s goal in life, and the means to develop natural predispositions in the desired direction.

In this seminar we critically examine the connection between psychology, ethics and education in various philosophical contexts, evidenced by primary and secondary literature, and take into account the practice of the teaching of philosophy in ancient and medieval schools. For the theory and practice of education we shall also take account of modern literature in the field, which often takes its cue from ancient and medieval models.

Course objectives

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

  • ancient, medieval and modern theories of education in terms of its presuppositions in (philosophical) psychology and ethics, and in relation to historical practice.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and compare historical texts on psychology, ethics and education from different periods, from Antiquity to the present;

  • write a paper on a topic in this field which developes a well-founded position as to the nature and value of ancient, medieval and modern theories and practices of education;

  • present a problem in this field, their own opinion, and the texts and arguments on which this opinion is based in a scholarly and accessible manner.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2014-2015, BA Wijsbegeerte (BA Plus-traject of Standaardtraject), derde jaar.
See Timetables Philosophy 2014-2015 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load: (10 ECTS credits x 28 hrs) 280 hours
Attending seminars: (14 weeks x 3 hrs) 42 hours
Weekly preparation: (14 weeks x 6 hrs) 84 hours
Preparing for presentation: 44 hours
Concluding paper (including reading / research): 110 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation in the seminar and preparation of prescribed reading (20%)

  • Presentation (30%)

  • Final paper (50%)

One resit will be offered, consisting of the final paper. Any student who did not take the first examination cannot take the resit.


Blackboard is used for posting of course information, assignments, and course materials.

Reading list

All the literature will be made available through Blackboard.


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


Prof.dr. F.A.J. de Haas