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Philosophy of a Specific Discipline: Philosophy of Natural Sciences

Philosophy of Natural Sciences is a specialisation of the MA programme Philosophy of a Specific Discipline. The two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline is intended for students in a particular academic discipline who are interested in the philosophical foundations and methodological aspects of that discipline.

For information about the objectives and general structure of the programme, the MA thesis and the requirements for graduation, please see the website of the MA in Philosophy of Specific Discipline. For a brief description of this specialisation click on ‘Informatie’ above.

Structure of the programme

First Year

  • 10 EC / MA course in Philosophy

  • 10 EC / MA course in Philosophy

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Natural Sciences

  • 30 EC / MA courses in Natural Sciences

Second Year

  • 10 EC / Specialist MA course in Philosophy of Natural Sciences

  • 10 EC / MA courses in Natural Sciences

  • 10 EC / Literature Study in the area of the MA thesis

  • 30 EC / MA thesis

First Year / Second Year

The following MA courses in Philosophy and specialist MA courses in Philosophy of Natural Sciences are on offer in 2010-2011:

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialist courses on Philosophy of Natural Sciences

Philosophy of Natural Sciences I 10
Philosophy of Natural Sciences II 10

MA courses in Philosophy

The Vienna Circle and Logical Positivism 10
The Problem of Objectivity in History 10
Science and Humanities in the Ancient Philosophical Curriculum 10
Filosofie en literatuur II (HPS) 10
Rechtvaardigheid en macht: 16e-eeuwse politieke theorieën 10
Reasonable Disagreement 10
Nietzsche and Politics (EP) 10
Wijsgerige antropologie III 10
De revolutie in de kunst 10
Scientific Revolution 10
Language and the Mind 10
Filosofie, psychiatrie en neurowetenschappen 10
Contemporary Utilitarianism 10
Philosophy of Mind and Action 10
Filosofie van het internationale recht 10
Wijsgerige antropologie IV 10
Wikisofie 10

More info


Philosophy of Natural Sciences covers ontological, epistemological, and methodological issues arising from the natural sciences.

Ontological issues pertain to the ultimate constitution of the world studied by natural scientists. What sorts of objects are acknowledged by the natural sciences? How are these objects defined and identified? In what senses can they be said to be real?

Epistemological issues pertain to the nature and limits of our knowledge of the natural world. How are concepts related to the world? What is the status of theoretical entities? What is the difference between observation and experiment?

h3 Detailed information about the programme

Information about objectives, programme and graduation requirements is available on the general webpage of the MA in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline# (click on “informatie”).

Lastly, methodological issues pertain to the practice and dynamics of research in the natural sciences, including the interpretation of empirical data, theory formulation, and hypothesis test. A particular focus is the diversity of the natural sciences, which range from law formulating sciences such as physics to historical sciences such as earth science. A selection of these topics is selected for discussion each academic year.

Specialisation co-ordinator

Dr. J.W. (James) McAllister