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Philosophy (120 EC): Philosophy of Humanities

Philosophy of Humanities is one of the five specialisations of the MA programme in Philosophy (120 EC). This two-year master’s programme is intended for students in a particular academic discipline who are interested in the philosophical foundations and methodological aspects of that discipline. For a brief description of the specialisation Philosophy of Humanities, and additional information concerning the objectives of the programme, the master’s thesis and requirements for graduation, see below: ‘More info’.

Structure of the programme

The two-year programme consists of the following components:

MA courses in the chosen discipline outside philosophy (for a total of 40 EC)

Students include in their programme 500-level MA courses in one of the Humanities for a total of 40 EC. In principle, these courses must form a coherent combination of subjects.

Specialist courses (for a total of 20 EC)

Students must complete two specialist courses in Philosophy of Humanities (10 EC each). Please be informed that there will be one specialist course on offer each year.

Research Seminar (10 EC)

Students follow the research seminar that is compulsory for their specialisation; for the specialisation Philosophy of Humanities this is the research seminar Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture.

Optional courses (for a total of 30 EC)

Students follow three optional courses in philosophy (each 10 EC), to be chosen from the selected courses listed under Electives in Philosophy. The topics of these philosophy seminars are varying yearly.

Master’s thesis and exam (20 EC)

The MA programme will be concluded by a master’s thesis of 20 EC. The master’s thesis is an independent academic contribution to philosophy in the field of the chosen specilialisation (Philosophy of Humanities). Before graduation students sit for a final exam for which they defend their thesis and possibly answer questions about a selection of other subjects.

Planning

A possible planning of the two-year programme is presented below. Please note that the sequence of the various components of individual programmes may deviate from the scheme proposed due to the availability of courses in a particular semester, or to the extent to which the non-philosophical part of the programme has already been completed. However, the research seminar must be taken in the first year, one of the specialist courses must be completed in the first year and the other one in the second year, and the master’s thesis will be the final part of the programme. Students are requested to discuss their programme with their tutor before the start of their first semester.

First Year

  • 30 EC / MA courses in one of the Humanities
  • 10 EC / Specialist course in Philosophy of Humanities
  • 10 EC / Research seminar Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture
  • 10 EC / Optional course in philosophy

Second Year

  • 10 EC / MA courses in one of the Humanities
  • 10 EC / Specialist course in Philosophy of Humanities
  • 20 EC / Optional courses in philosophy (each 10 EC)
  • 20 EC / MA thesis

First Year / Second Year

In 2015-2016 the following philosophy courses are on offer for MA students in the specialisation Philosophy of Humanities.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

MA courses in one of the Humanities

For courses on offer in the chosen discipline please see the programmes of the discipline concerned.

Internship

A maximum of 10 EC of the courses of the chosen discipline outside philosophy can be replaced by an internship.

Internship (MA Philosophy) 10

Research Seminar

Research Seminar Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture 10

Specialist Courses

In total, students take two specialist courses in Philosophy of Humanities, one course in year 1 and one course in year 2.

Philosophy of Humanities: Philosophy of Fiction 10

Electives in Philosophy

In total, students attend three MA courses in philosophy selected for their specialisation, spread over two years. In 2015-2016 the choice can be made from the list below:

Body and Embodiment 10
Virtue, Vice and Depravity: Buddhist and Contemporary Accounts 10
Questioning Life and Death 10
Nietzschean and Post-Nietzschean Aesthetics 10
Philosophies of Difference 10
De anima 2.0: Aristotelian Psychology in the Hands of Alexander of Aphrodisias 200 AD 10
Seminar Latin/Ancient Philosophy: Lucretius: poet and philosopher 10

MA Thesis

MA Thesis Philosophy 120 EC 20

More info

Description of the specialisation
Objectives and achievement levels
Programme
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Contact data

Description of the specialisation

The specialisation Philosophy of Humanities offers students the opportunity to further studies on the interface between scholarship in the humanities and philosophy. A particular focus is the relation between philosophical thought and European culture, and the programme also covers questions about the relationship between language and thought, and between philosophy, literature and art.

The specialisation Philosophy of Humanities has three fields of particular interest. The first focus is on the philosophical historical reflection on what Nietzsche called European nihilism. If scholarship is no longer guided by a philosophical, artistic and spiritual reflection, his diagnosis was, it will revert to the economy.

The second field of interest is the relation between philosophy and language. Just as poetry, philosophy shows that languages are not interchangeable, that language is more than a sheer instrument. What is the relation between philosophical thought and the language in which it has been expressed? How is philosophical thought related to the historical context? What are the circumstances in terms of which these ideas should be understood?

The third field of interest is the philosophical reflection on art, especially on the transition from traditional art to modern art. What is the impact of this transition? What does it mean? What are its motives? Are both art and philosophy searching for new ways to come to terms with life in a constantly expanding reality? The study of art will benefit from the critique of metaphysics in Nietzsche, as well as from the history of philosophical aesthetics from Kant to Heidegger and modern French philosophers. The destruction of the traditional aesthetic concept of art, accomplished by these philosophers, reflects the way in which art itself has changed.

Objectives and achievement levels

Objectives

  1. with respect to knowledge, understanding and their applications
    a. to impart scholarly knowledge, insight, methods, and skills in the field of philosophy, building on the foundations laid in the BA-programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, or the pre-master Philosophy);
    b. to impart a scholarly attitude, which is characterized by the student’s capacity to:
  • engage in individual and independent academic thought and action;
  • analyse complex problems;
  • write academic reports;
  • apply specialist skills in an intellectual and social context.
  1. with respect to a career
  • to prepare students for a profession in the field of the specific discipline for which philosophical knowledge, insight and skills have added value;
  • to prepare students for other professions in which philosophical knowledge, insight and skills have added value;
  • to prepare students to some extent for an academic career and for postgraduate education, in particular for a PhD project;
  • to prepare students for any non-academic career for which general academic skills such as abstraction skills, heuristic capability and creativity are required.

Achievement levels

Graduates of the programme will have reached the following achievement levels:

  1. With regard to knowledge, understanding and their application, graduates
  • possess knowledge and understanding in the field of the history, foundations, methodology and/or ethics of the discipline that are based on but surpass the level of the bachelor’s degree in philosophy of a certain specific discipline;
  • possess knowledge and understanding with regard to the social and cultural meaning of philosophy in general and the philosophy of the discipline in particular;
  • possess knowledge and understanding of the main elements of philosophy of the discipline and the problems, methods and key terms of these elements. This knowledge and understanding surpasses in level that acquired on a bachelor’s programme in philosophy of a particular specific discipline and forms the basis of the independent development and application of original ideas, understanding and analyses;
  • are aware of the most recent discussion in the field of their philosophical specialisation and be able to make their own contribution;
  • based on the acquired knowledge and understanding, are able to make a contribution to the current discussion within the field of philosophy of the discipline and within new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  1. With regard to making judgements, graduates
  • on the basis of the deep knowledge of philosophy acquired on the programme, are able to deal with complex philosophical problems and formulate judgments based on information from different kinds of source even if this information is incomplete or uncertain;
  • have a realistic view of the reliability of their own conclusions;
  • are able to integrate different approaches to philosophical questions and/or compare them with each other.
  1. With regard to communication, graduates
  • are trained in giving a clear explanation of philosophical problems, ideas, theories, interpretations and arguments. This is for both a specialist and non-specialist audience and in English as well as, for Dutch-speaking students, in Dutch;
  • are capable of writing philosophical papers that show the potential to approximate the level of articles in national and international academic journals in the field of philosophy.
  1. With regard to learning skills, graduates
  • have developed learning skills that allow them to continue their study of philosophy largely independently within a research context and draw up a research proposal for a PhD.

Programme

The MA Philosophy (120 EC) offers five specialisations, in which students are able to combine the study of philosophy with a non-philosophical discipline, varying from natural sciences to humanities and political science.

Structure

The MA Philosophy (120 EC) consists of five components:

  • 40 EC / MA/MSc courses in the chosen discipline outside philosophy
  • 20 EC / 2 Specialist MA courses in philosophy of the chosen discipline
  • 10 EC / Research seminar in philosophy
  • 30 EC / 3 MA courses in philosophy
  • 20 EC / Master’s thesis

Students are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in the discipline of their specialisation, which enables them to follow the non-philosophical part of their master’s programme at the faculty or department of the chosen discipline. Students who have already obtained a master’s degree in the chosen discipline are normally exempted from this part of the programme.

Full-time programme

First year

  • Students follow 500-level courses for a total of 30 EC in the chosen specific discipline outside philosophy.
  • Students follow a compulsory research seminar in philosophy, with a workload of 10 EC.
  • Further, students follow one course in philosophy, with a workload of 10 EC. The choice may be made from a selected list of courses.
  • Finally, students follow one specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline (10 EC). Depending on the number of enrolments these specialist courses will be offered either as a full seminar or as a series of individual tutorial sessions.

Second year

  • Students take 500-level courses for a total of 10 EC in the chosen discipline outside philosophy.
  • Students follow two courses in philosophy, with a workload of 10 EC each. The choice may be made from a selected list of courses.
  • Further, students follow a second specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline (10 EC).
  • Finally, students complete a master’s thesis of 20 EC.

Please note that the structure and sequence of components of individual MA programmes in Philosophy (120 EC) may deviate from the structure above due to the availability of courses in a particular semester, or the extent to which the non-philosophical part of the programme has been completed.
Students are requested to discuss their progamme with their tutor before the start of their first semester.

Part-time programme

In the part-time programme the various components will be spread over three years:

First year

  • MA/MSc courses for a total of 40 EC in chosen discipline outside philosophy.

Second year

  • Research seminar in philosophy (10 EC).
  • Specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline (10 EC).
  • Two MA courses in Philosophy for a total of 20 EC.

Third year

  • Specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline (10 EC).
  • MA course in Philosophy (10 EC).
  • Master’s thesis of 20 EC.

Please note that the structure and sequence of components of individual MA programmes in Philosophy (120 EC) may deviate from the structure above due to the availability of courses in a particular semester, or the extent to which the non-philosophical part of the programme has been completed.
Students are requested to discuss their progamme with their tutor before the start of their first semester.

Internship

Students in the MA Philosophy 120 EC are allowed to include an internship in their MA programme. The internship will replace max. 10 EC of the non-philosophical component of their programme.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

See below

Full-time and part-time

The programme offers both full-time and part-time tuition. The part-time programme is offered as a daytime course. The full-time programme spans two years (including the non-philosophical component), the part-time programme spans three years. The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for their completion; in content they are identical.

Specialisations

The two-year MA programme in Philosophy (120 EC) offers five specialisations:

  • Philosophy of Humanities
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Natural Sciences
  • Philosophy of Political Science
  • Philosophy of Psychology

For studens in the MA programme Philosophy 120 EC it is required that they choose their optional courses from the list of courses that are selected for their specialisation, and that the subject of their master’s thesis belongs to the field of their specialisation. Furthermore, the 500-level courses outside philosophy (for a total of 40 EC) must be completed in the academic discipline specified in the name of their specialisation.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

Requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 120 EC programme and have completed their final thesis as a component of that programme. The master’s thesis is an independent academic contribution to philosophy in the field of the chosen specialisation. The student is required to write a master’s thesis in the second year of the MA Philosophy (120 EC) – normally in the last semester.

Attainment levels

The master’s thesis should clearly show that the student meets the attainment levels which have been set for this programme in terms of knowledge and skills. More specifically, the master’s thesis and the working method for the thesis should demonstrate that the student:

  • has acquired knowledge of systematic philosophy and its history, and of recent developments in contemporary philosophy, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;
  • knows the discussions in the forefront of their field, and is able to take part in them;
  • is able to contribute to current discussions on philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • is able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • has a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of his/her own conclusions;
  • is able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions;
  • in short, is able to write philosophical papers, the quality of which comes close to that of articles in refereed journals in the field.

Formal requirements and assessment criteria

The thesis for the MA Philosophy (120 EC) has a workload of 20 ECs, and the length of the thesis is normally approximately 20,000 words. Depending on the subject, the student and the supervisor may agree on a different length. Other formal requirements that the thesis must satisfy are listed in the Protocol Graduation Phase

Agreements and supervision

The thesis must be supervised by a staff member of the Leiden Institute for Philosophy. The agreements relating to the planning and supervision of the writing of the MA thesis are set out in writing by the student and the supervisor in the Agreements relating to the MA thesis form-. The agreements include details on the choice of subject of the thesis, on the frequency of sessions with the thesis supervisor and the manner of supervision, and on the phasing of the research leading up to the thesis.

Final examination

The master’s thesis shall be defended as part of the final examination. The grade of the master’s thesis is determined by the examiners after the questioning (defense of the thesis) in the MA examination. The final examination may be held at any time during the academic year. However, graduation within the current academic year is only guaranteed when the final draft of the thesis has been approved of by the supervisor and sent to the Board of Examiners not later on June 15th.

Contact data

Specialisation coordinator

Dr. F. (Frank) Chouraqui
f.chouraqui@phil.leidenuniv.nl

Coordinator of Studies

Contact details of the Coordinator of Studies of the Leiden Philosophy Department.