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Research Seminar History and Philosophy of the Sciences


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 60 EC who have chosen for the specialisation History and Philosophy of the Sciences, and to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 120 EC, specialisations Philosophy of Natural Sciences and Philosophy of Psychology.

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

Semantics and Epistemology constitute the core of Theoretical Philosophy. At the hand of Saul Kripke’s John Locke Lectures from 1973 but recently published, by OUP in 2013, as Reference and Existence and Crispin Wright’s Truth and Objectivity Harvard UP, 1992, topics and suitable reading material will be chosen for study.
Kripke deals with the interplay of semantics and modality and Wright with issues of Truth and its relation to scientific objectivity. The chosen texts might not necesaarily be from the two books, but they delineate the field in which we are going to work.

Course objectives

This course aims to investigate the phenomenon of authority.

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

  • key issues in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language pertaining to modality and epistemic objectivity;

  • recent discussions on such matters.

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 (prerequisite for taking the exam)

  • Detailed research plan (prerequisite for taking the exam)

  • Midterm paper (prerequisite for taking the exam)

  • 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 (100%)


One resit will be offered, covering the final paper. The grade will replace previously earned grades for subtests. Satisfactory completion of practical assignments (weekly assignments, research plan, midterm paper, comments) is a prerequisite for taking the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.


Texts, assignments, feedback on student’s assignments will all be made available through Blackboard.

Reading list

  • All literature will be made available through Blackboard.


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.


Prof.dr. B.G. Sundholm