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Freedom or Equality?


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Moral and Political Philosophy

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Law, Governance, and Politics


This is an advanced course in analytical political philosophy focusing on the values, roles, and relationships of the ideas of freedom and equality. It deals mainly with modern-day discussion of these values (among others authors like Berlin, Pettit, Anderson, Dworkin) supported from time to time by an examination of classic discussions of these questions (among others Marx, J.S Mill, Rousseau) and their place in contemporary political debates (such as basic income).

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • give students a deep critical understanding of the philosophical concepts of freedom and equality, their relationship, and their embedding in different political theories as core values and as principles guiding political action;

  • acquaint students with key writings on freedom and equality, including but not limited to the treatment of these ideas by modern political philosophers.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • Analyse and critically evaluate the use made of freedom and equality in philosophical writing and in wider political contexts;

  • Apply the concepts and arguments from the authors studied to better understand contemporary real world problems and debates.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required and includes preparation and participation components.

Assessment method


  • Midterm paper of 2,000 words (40% of final grade)

  • Final paper of 3,000 words (60% of final grade)


The final mark for the course is determined by (i) the weighted average of the essays combined with (ii) the class attendance requirement.


Students can resit the assessment if their overall grade for the entire course is 5 or less. This requires writing a new essay weighted at 100% of the grade. It is not possible to make up for the attendance requirement

Inspection and feedback

Students will have an opportunity to discuss the grading of their essays with the instructor.

Reading list

The full reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course.


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.


  • 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


Not applicable.