Admission to one of the following programmes is required:
MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Moral and Political Philosophy
MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Law, Governance, and Politics
This is a course on contemporary debates in practical philosophy, broadly understood as concerning both moral and political theory. We start with two fundamental topics that are relevant for all practical philosophers.
First, we discuss practical reason, which involves thinking about, and deciding, what to do. We will study Humean views according to which practical reasoning is, roughly, reasoning about how to satisfy one’s desires, and Kantian views according to which practical reasoning is, roughly, reasoning about which desires one should have.
Second, we discuss value theory, which asks theoretical questions about value and goodness of all varieties. What is intrinsic value? Is there more than one fundamental or intrinsic value? Can values be incommensurable? How is the evaluative related to the deontic? For instance, with respect to the last question, we will discuss teleological views, which explain the deontic in terms of the evaluative, and buck-passing views, which explain the evaluative in terms of the deontic.
In the remainder of this course, we discuss fundamental debates in moral and political philosophy, starting with moral philosophy. We discuss such topics as the doctrine of double effect, different views on moral responsibility, and the nature of promissory obligations. We end with issues in political philosophy; viz., feminism, affirmative action, and radical political philosophy.
This course involves weekly writing assignments to practice philosophical argumentation.
Philosophers to be discussed include, but are not limited to, Christine Korsgaard, T.M. Scanlon, Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Nagel, Onora O’Neill, Jonathan Dancy, Margaret Gilbert, John Broom, Derek Parfit and Bernard Williams.
This course aims to introduce students to various debates in current practical philosophy. Our focus throughout will be on philosophical discussion and argumentation, not only between the philosophers that we read but also amongst ourselves. At the end of the course, students are in a position to take a reasoned standpoint on topics in value theory, practical reason, and moral and political philosophy.
Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:
central debates in practical philosophy, such as value theory and practical reason, that are relevant for both moral and political philosophers;
central debates in current moral philosophy, such as the doctrine of double effect, different views on moral responsibility, and the nature of promissory obligations;
central debates in current political philosophy, such as feminism, affirmative action, and radical political philosophy.
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
formulate their views in practical philosophy and defend them against criticisms;
write in a confident, informed and precise manner about current issues in practical philosophy.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Class attendance is required.
Mid-term essay (2,500 words)
Final essay (3,000 words)
Attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from submitting a final paper.
The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtests (midterm essay, final essay):
Mid-term essay: 30%
Final essay: 70%
The resit will consist of a written final essay of 5,500 words (100%). No separate resits will be offered for mid-term or final tests. The mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
Attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examinations cannot take the resit.
Inspection and feedback
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.
The readling list will be posted on Brightspace.
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
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga