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Research Seminar Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 60 EC who have chosen for the specialisation Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture, and to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 120 EC, specialisations Philosophy of Humanities.

This Research Seminar is mandatory for above mentioned students.


Characteristics of the research seminar

The research seminar is a mandatory part of the MA programme. In this intensive seminar students will hone their skills necessary for writing a successful MA thesis so they are well prepared for writing their thesis in the following semester. In particular, the research seminar pays attention to topics such as formulating relevant research questions, composing research plans, and efficient writing. Students should enroll in the research seminar that belongs to the specialisation they have chosen and in which the MA thesis will be written. The instructor of the research seminar will also the be the staff member who is responsible for making sure that the process of thesis writing remains on track.

Subject description

The philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941) – famous winner of the Nobel prize winner for literature in 1927, esteemed Gifford lecturer, and famous professor of philosophy during his lifetime – has unjustly fallen into oblivion during the last decades. This is largely due to other, ‘postmodern’ strands in modern French thought. Thinkers as different as Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Paul Sartre, however, admit to be greatly endebted to Bergson’s philosophy. Bergson’s theories and analyses, disparate though they be, cover the most essential questions of philosophy.

In this research seminar we will focus on some basic themes (metaphysics, religion, morality, and intuition), addressed by two of his main works: Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion, 1932 (The Two Sources of Morality and Religion) and La pensée et le mouvant, 1934 (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics).

Course objectives

This course aims to study some essential philosophical topics addressed by Henri Bergson: metaphysics, religion, morality, and intuition. Through addressing these topics it also aims at a developing a general reflection on philosophy as such: its character, its relation to science, religion or art, its limits, and its capabilities.

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

  • some central characteristics of the philosophy of Bergson in general;

  • some possible distinctions between philosophy and science;

  • distinct forms of religious and moral self-interpretation.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • present this knowledge in written form (essay);

  • formulate a philosophically relevant question;

  • formulate a research topic that reflects both knowledge and understanding of key discussions and methods relevant to the field;

  • fomulate a research plan that is feasible within the time available for its completion;

  • write a coherent argumentative text within limited time.


See Timetables MA Philosophy 2015-2016

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course: 10 ECTS credits x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending seminars: 14 weeks x 3 hours = 42 hours

  • Time for studying the mandatory literature: 90 hours

  • Time for completing weekly assignments: 90 hours

  • Research plan: 10 hours

  • Writing midterm paper: 15 hours

  • Comments: 8 hours

  • Writing final paper: 25 hours

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments (30% of the final grade)

  • Detailed research plan (prerequisite for taking the exam)

  • Midterm paper (30% of the final grade)

  • Comments on research plan and midterm paper fellow student (prerequisite for taking the exam)

  • Expanded final paper, based on research plan, midterm paper and received comments (40% of the final grade)


One resit will be offered, covering the final paper. The grade will replace previously earned grades for subtests. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.


Blackboard (digital learning environment) is used in the course for posting of instructions or texts, discussion, posting of questions for the instructor or fellow students etc. All assignments should be submitted on Blackboard, the conclusive paper should be submitted through Turnitin.

Reading list

  • Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion, Paris, F. Alcan, 1932f (The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, University of Notre Dame Press 1977).

  • La pensée et le mouvant, Paris, F. Alcan, 1934f (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, Citadel Press 2002).


Please register for this course via Study administration system uSis
See also Registration for lectures and tests

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. H.W. Sneller