Admission to one of the following programmes is required:
MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Ethics and Politics
MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Law
MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Political Science
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 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.
Second, we discuss practical reason, which involves thinking about, and deciding, what to do. Here we discuss 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.
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 assingments 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, Mark Schroeder, Margaret Gilbert, 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 moral 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 timetable is available on the folowing websites:
Mode of instruction
Class attendance is required.
Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours:
Attending seminars: (13 x 3 hours): 39 hours
Writing weekly essays (13 x 3 hours): 39 hours
Reading weekly required readings (13 x 7 hours): 91 hours
Writing mid-term and final paper (including research and reading additional literature): 111 hours
Mid-term paper (40%)
Final paper (60%)
Attendance and active participation in class is required for admission to the exam.
The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (see above).
The resit covers the entire exam (100%) and consists of of paper.
Attendance and active participation in class is required for admission to the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall 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.
Blackboard will be used for:
submitting essays and obtaining feedback
The readling list will made available in class.
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