Continental Philosophy


Course Objective

The student:
• gains insight into the most important philosophical schools, ideas and
philosophers in 20th century continental philosophy;
• learns about the continuities and discontinuities with earlier periods
(modern philosophy);
• practices the ability to read and analyze primary philosophical texts;
• practices the skills of philosophical argumentation and writing;
• practices presentation skills.

Course Content

Twentieth-century continental philosophy is characterized by two main
lines of thought: the decentering of the subject and the linguistic
turn. These main characteristics are traceable in different ways in the
most important philosophical schools of this period: phenomenology (and
existentialism), hermeneutics, critical theory, post-structuralism and
philosophy of difference. In this course, these schools will be
discussed, and texts will be read of the most important philosophers of
this age:

1. The Masters of Suspicion (turn 19th/20th century): Nietzsche
2. Phenomenology: Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty
3. Hermeneutics: Gadamer
4. Critical theory / Frankfurter Schule: Horkheimer and Adorno
5. Post-structuralism: Foucault, Butler
6. Deconstruction and philosophy of difference: Derrida, Deleuze

Teaching Methods

Lectures to introduce each school or movement; text reading seminars to
discuss the primary texts.
Attending the text reading seminars is mandatory.

Method of Assessment

- 8 assignments about the primary texts, of which you will need to hand
in at least 6 (5 % each, if you hand in more than 6 assignments, the
highest grades count)
- presentation on a continental philosopher or theme that is not
discussed in the course (10 %)
- final exam with open essay questions (60 %)


We will read and discuss primary texts of Husserl, Heidegger,
Merleau-Ponty, Gadamer, Adorno and Horkheimer, Foucault and/or Butler,
Derrida, and Deleuze. The primary texts will be made available through
The mandatory secondary literature will be made available through Canvas
as well.

Target Audience

The course is part of the bachelor program Philosophy, and aims at
students of this bachelor (or students that have taken courses in
Philosophy before, especially Modern Philosophy).

Recommended background knowledge

Modern philosophy

General Information

Course Code W_BA_COEN
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.M. Halsema
Examiner dr. J.M. Halsema
Teaching Staff dr. J.M. Halsema

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: