nl en

Cosmopolitics (IT1)


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: PPE, or Ethics and Politics

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: Philosophy of Law, or Philosophy of Political Science

(Students who have obtained a BA degree in Philosophy from Leiden University are admissible to all specialisations of the MA Philosophy 60 EC.)


Acknowledging that PPE is not only a European enterprise, this module seeks to interrogate the importance and meaning of provincialising Europe and considering extra-European traditions of thinking. This dilemma in the politics of knowledge will be linked clearly to the practical political and conceptual challenges of multiculturalism in the form of cosmopolitics.

The idea of ‘cosmopolitics’ emerges as distinct from a more conventional ‘cosmopolitanism’ because of its emphasis on the ethical and political implications of philosophical cosmology and metaphysics. That is, rather than seeking modes of enagement that deny the reality of fundamental difference, cosmopolitics attempts to address the foundations of essential difference itself. The idea of the Alien is central to cosmopolitics. Hence, this course devotes considerable attention to the analysis of alternative worldviews, including the processes of mediation between worldviews contained within them.

The course takes seriously the possibility that such ‘cosmic’ constructions can be found in various regional traditions around the world, but also that they can be found in different media forms. Hence, cosmopolitics embraces interdisciplinary inquiry across philosophy, politics, performance and the arts.

Course objectives

As an integrative course, Cosmopolitics aims to encourage students to think across and between conventional disciplinary approaches to philosophical questions. One of its key objectives is to help students find ways to address difference in a constructive and creative manner.

This course aims to:

  • give students a familiarity with the concepts of and approachs to cosmo-polis, and especially their embedding in different regional and medial traditions, as core values and as principles guiding political action;

  • acquaint students with key writings on cosmopolitics, including but not limited to the treatment of this issue by modern philosophers, writers, performers, and activists.

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

  • the concept and practice of cosmopolitics;

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • paraphrase, interpret, reproduce and criticise the use made of cosmopolitics in philosophical writing and in wider social and political contexts;

  • display a knowledge of the history and diversity of this concept, and its responsiveness to wider technical, political, and cultural changes, including changes in media;

  • distinguish ideological and analytical appraisals of this concept and their politically contentious interrelation;

  • assess the most appropriate and powerful means of expressing a cosmopolitical argument, including in cases where this is in a non-conventional form.


See Timetables MA Philosophy 2015-2016

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course (10 ECTS credits x 28 hours): 280 hours

  • Attending classes (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

  • Participation and Web-assignments: 20%

  • Mid-term (take home) assignment: 30%

  • Final (take home) assignment: 50%


The resit will consists of one (take home) examination (in two parts) for both written components. No resit is possible for participation and web-assignments. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term test. The resit covers the entire course content and the mark will replace previously earned marks for subtests.


Blackboard will be used for texts, announcements, and discussion, as well as for web-assignments before each class.

Reading list

As much as possible, readings will be made available through Blackboard.

An excellent preparation might be to read:

  • Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics. (Weaver’s English translation is excellent.)


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. C. Goto-Jones


Cosmopolitics is an ‘integrative course’ in the PPE pathway.