Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy


Course Objective

This course is part of the bachelor programs Sociology (leerlijn:
Sociale Vraagstukken), Political Science, and Cultural Anthropology and
Development Sociology.

The course is designed to introduce students into the normative and
ethical debates about contemporary challenges to society. The central
idea of the course is that students in the social sciences should not
only be able to analyze and research social issues and developments, but
also be capable of critical reflection on the normative aspects,
dilemmas, and positions in debates about these issues.

Learning objectives

Knowledge and Understanding. The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the types of ethical dilemma’s that are part of current social,
political, and cultural tensions and disputes, such as sociocultural
diversity, issues of inequality, and democratic political participation;
(2) the various approaches and theories addressing these normative
questions and dilemma's.

Application. The student has acquired the competences to:
(3) recognize the ethnical quandaries underlying the positions and
proposals in and on societal problems and social, political, and
cultural interests constituting them; and
(4) apply normative theories to concrete contemporary contested issues.

Making judgements. The student is able to:
(5) critically reflect upon the normative dimension of contemporary
contested issues, in particular on cultural diversity, social
inequality, and political participation.

Communication. The student has acquired the skills to:
(6) write a short opinion piece on a contemporary contentious issue,
addressing a non-academic audience.

Course Content

After an introduction to the foundational debates on the notion of
'justice' in normative theory (e.g universalism versus relativism,
deontology versus consequentionalism, monism versus value pluralism) we
concentrate on the following contemporary contested issues (both
nationally and internationally):

(1) Cultural diversity and moral universalism: How to reconcile the
claim of 'universal human rights' with the fact of cultural, ethnic and
religious diversity?
(2) Social equality: What is a 'fair' and 'just' distribution of
socio-economic goods?
(3) Democracy: What are the challenges of (neoliberal) globalization and
populism to the idea of democracy?

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Written assigment (op-ed piece) (30%) and final exam (open
essay-questions) (70%).


To be announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Target Audience

3rd year bachelor students in Sociology; 3rd year bachelor students in
Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology; 3rd year bachelor
students in Political Science.
Open as an elective course for Exchange students.

General Information

Course Code S_CSPP
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator drs. B. Slijper
Examiner drs. B. Slijper
Teaching Staff prof. dr. B.J.J. Crum
dr. E. van Roekel
drs. B. Slijper

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

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