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Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives (BA)

Programme structure

This Philosophy bachelor's programme offers perspectives from around the world. It will make you one of the next-generation of students who will shape philosophy in the 21st century, ready to take on academic or professional challenges that call for critical thinking, analysis and argumentation skills.

Programme outline

Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives is a three-year, English-taught bachelor’s programme. Mandatory subjects in the first year include World Philosophy courses on Greek and Roman Antiquity, Modern Europe, China, the Middle East and India. In each semester of that year there is also a Comparative Philosophy course: on Classical Readings in the first and Methodology in the second. Students can tailor the programme from the end of the second year and are expected to research and write a thesis to conclude the third and final year.

Some of the courses

World Philosophies: Modern Europe

An introduction to the history of philosophy in 17th and 18th century Europe, a period commonly known as ‘modern philosophy’. The ideas of the most important philosophers of the era will be addressed: Bacon, Hobbes and Descartes, as well as later figures as Spinoza, Hume, and Kant. The course discusses a number of issues, including the nature and foundations of morality and knowledge, freedom and determinism, and the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity. 


With a focus on the syntax and semantics of two formal languages, this course is an introduction to the study of logic, especially those elements that are important for philosophers. Afterwards you will, among other things, be able to explain key concepts in logic in intuitive and informal ways.

World Philosophies: Africa

This course explores the major philosophical traditions emerging from Africa. What concepts or ideas are significantly meaningful within the context of African philosophy? Are these questions unique or would there be unifying features with other intellectual traditions? The course explores themes such as development (history) of African philosophy, Justice and Morality in African Thought, epistemologies of development, belief systems, justification of moral norms and questions of identity.

Political Philosophy

By reading a range of modern classics, students will become familiar with key concepts and debates, discussing questions such as: What are politics anyway? And how do you act politically? You’ll obtain an understanding of some fundamental concepts in political philosophy and the critical problems that they raise, both in theory and in practice.

Comparative Philosophy II: Topics

In this course, you'll study in detail the different modes of knowing and epistemologies in the Arabic and Persian philosophical traditions and to acquire familiarity with the historical and philosophical contexts that gave rise to debates on epistemology in the Middle East. You'll attend to wide-ranging topics on epistemology, such as the rational, theological, empirical, scriptural, mystical, occultist, and imitative.

Concepts of Selfhood

Discussing topics such as personal identity, the metaphysics of persons, self-knowledge and the structure of awareness, this course introduces students to the philosophical study of the self. After completing it you’ll be able to present this knowledge in writing and formulate critical responses to these philosophical ideas and positions.

Conceptions of Knowledge in India and China

This course engages students in the major debates about what was considered knowledge in the classical Indian and Chinese traditions. It will acquaint them with the most prevalent philosophical conceptions of knowledge found in the ancient and medieval philosophical schools of these two countries.

Islamic Thought: Past and Present

This advanced seminar examines and analysed medieval and modern Muslim thinking about and engagement with a range of cultural, philosophical, intellectual, religious, and political topics and themes, including gender, violence, racism, authority, human rights, reason and scripture, and social media.


Whereas ethicists ask questions such as ‘how should one live?’ and ‘what should I do?’, metaethics ask questions like ‘what do moral judgments mean?’, ‘are there moral truths?’ and ‘how do we gain moral knowledge?’. In this course, we study a number of core texts in metaethics and we discuss and assess the most important metaethical theories that are currently discussed in the literature, such as emotivism, expressivism, naturalist and non-naturalist realism, and the error theory.

An introduction to logic by Victor Gijsbers

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Detailed programme

Below you can find an overview of the curriculum. For a detailed description of the courses, check the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

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How do you fill in your electives?

You’ll have plenty of freedom to tailor the Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives programme to your own interests. During the second semester of your second year, for example, you can follow a minor in another faculty, do an internship or even study abroad. You can also create a package of electives from other programmes that will help mould your education to fit with your academic and career interests. Moreover, you can also spread these optional studies over two semesters, including the first semester of Year 3.

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