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Psychology, Ethics, and Education from Antiquity to the Present


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation History and Philosophy of the Sciences

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Humanities

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Psychology

  • MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Classics


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 have a good understanding of:

  • 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;

  • write an argumentive paper for which they themselves develop the research question, find relevant and more advanced philosophical literature intended for researchers in the field, and provide a critical analysis of the material;

  • independent problem solving and critical analysis of the relevant literature, testified by oral presentation and paper.


See: MA Philosophy 60 EC
See: MA Philosophy 120 EC

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending seminars (13 weeks x 3 hrs): 39 hours
  • Weekly preparation seminars (13 weeks x 6 hrs): 78 hours
  • Preparing for presentation: 48 hours
  • Writing paper (including reading / research): 115 hours

Assessment method


  • Presentation (25%)

  • Final paper (75%)

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


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests:


The resit covers the following exam components: revised version of the final paper (75%)
The grades for other exam component (presentation) remains in place.

Class participation, attendance, and completion of practical assignments such as the oral presentation is a mandatory requirement for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • posting of course information, assignments, and course materials.

Reading list

All the literature will be made available through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number, which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


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


Not applicable.