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Philosophy in World Traditions: Topics


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy in World Traditions

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Global and Comparative Philosophy


This course examines the relation between metaphysics of self and identity, and issues in moral philosophy. It takes as sources primarily premodern Buddhist thought, and contemporary philosophical work on the relation between ethics and identity. Buddhist authors read may include Nāgārjuna, Buddhaghosa, Candrakīrti, Śāntideva, and the authors of the Pali canon. Contemporary authors discussed may include Derek Parfit, Marya Schechtman, Owen Flanagan, and Evan Thompson. Specific questions to be addressed will include how and to what extent accepting a no-self or reductionist account of persons affects moral obligation; and how, according to Buddhist sources, adopting a metaphysics of selflessness promotes the development of virtuous character.

Course objectives

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

  • the differences and similarities in the accounts of self and character held by several influential Buddhist authors.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • contrast positions on the relation between metaphysics of self and moral philosophy held by Buddhist and contemporary philosophers;

  • engage with philosophical reasoning and arguments presented by these authors;

  • interact on a higher level with philosophical ideas, both in active participation during class, and in written work in the form of essay assignments.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Active Participation/coöperation in class/group

  • Presentation

  • Essay proposal

  • Paper


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests:

  • Participation and presentation (20%)

  • Essay proposal (10%)

  • Final essay (70%)


The resit consists of the final essay (70%). The mark for the resit covers the previously earned mark for the final paper only. The grades for the essay proposal and for participation and class presentation remain in place. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination 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.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.