Universiteit Leiden

nl en

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.


This course investigates a range of philosophical questions about the nature and limits of our knowledge. You will be given a sound understanding of the reasons for and against central views in Western epistemology, the concepts of epistemology and which texts have been influential in its history.

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.

Philosophy of Science

By giving you an introduction to the scientific explanation, laws of nature, causation, the aim and structure of scientific theories, realism and anti-realism, induction and confirmation, relativism and the objectivity of science, you’ll be given a sound understanding of the central ideas of the contemporary philosophy of science.

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.

Concepts 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.

Islam and Philosophy

This course seeks to show that philosophy has permeated all aspects and facets of Islamic intellectual traditions and that medieval and modern Islamic writing is suffused with philosophical themes. Students will get to appreciate the diversity of Islamic philosophical thinking throughout history, past and present, and Islamic attitudes towards learning, philosophy, and non-religious sciences.

Body and Embodiment

By giving students a clear view of the history of the concept of body in Western philosophy and the current state of the debate around embodiment, this course investigates the ways in which human embodiment affects all other philosophical concerns, including ontological, political, ethical and epistemological issues.

An introduction to logic by Victor Gijsbers

This video can not be shown because you did not accept cookies.

You can leave our website to view this video.

Watch Victor Gijsbers's videoseries on YouTube

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.

Click on the magnifier to enlarge the picture.

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.

This website uses cookies. More information.