History of Philosophy II


Course Objective

The aim of this course is to obtain critical knowledge of three great
minds in the field of practical philosophy, focused around their views
of the human condition. Their works will be studied in detail at a
textual level, but will also be placed in a larger context of their
philosophical views in general, and the philosophical as well as
socio-political backgrounds against which they developed.
After completing this course, students
• will be able to explain key concepts of Plato’s, Marx, and Arendt's
views of the human condition,
• will possess knowledge of those theories in their philosophical and
historical context,
• will be able to analyse a philosophical text at several levels.

Course Content

In the history of practical philosophy, theories of the good life are
underpinned with a philosophical anthropology: an analysis of what it is
to be human. This course will focus on three influential views on the
human condition: as developed by Plato in The Republic, by Marx in Das
Kapital, and by Arendt in The Human Condition. We will discuss recurring
issues such as essentialism, freedom, purpose, and the relation between
vita contemplativa and vita activa, both within their philosophical
context and against the socio-political background in which they

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars (active learning groups). Please note that
participation in the seminars is mandatory.

Method of Assessment

a. Three essays (each 20%)
b. Final exam (40%)
c. Seminar assignment (pass/fail)

Entry Requirements

Mandatory courses PPE specialization Track 1: Philosophy


Capita selecta from Plato Republic, Marx Capital, Arendt The Human
Condition. Details TBA through Canvas.

Target Audience

Second year PPE students

Additional Information

Please note that participation in the seminars is mandatory.

Custom Course Registration

There is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module and (ii) lecture, but not for the seminar groups.

Recommended background knowledge

Mandatory courses PPE specialization Track 1: Philosophy

General Information

Course Code W_JSM_211
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. M. Martijn
Examiner prof. dr. M. Martijn
Teaching Staff prof. dr. M. Martijn

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: