Social Philosophy


Course Objective

In this course you will gain knowledge of, and insight into:
1. the historical developments in social philosophy, from antiquity to
the 20th century;
2. the ideas of key thinkers in social philosophy (such as Aristotle,
Kant, Hegel, Arendt, MacIntyre, Foucault);
3. the development of the conception of the social and of freedom in

And you will practice the skills to:
1. critically read and analyze primary philosophical texts;
2. take part in discussions about the texts;
3. improve your analytical, argumentative and writing skills.

Course Content

This course will give you an overview of the main developments in social
philosophy from antiquity until the 20th century, with a special focus
upon the conceptions of the social and freedom.
The course will be taught by three instructors. In the first two weeks,
the focus will be on the notions of individuality and freedom in
antiquity (Aristotle) and on (the link with) contemporary value ethics
(Mac Intyre).
In the second part of the course, Kant’s model of reason-based freedom
and Hegel’s conception of ethical life as a social figuration of freedom
will be studied.
In the last part of the course, 20th century conceptions of sociality
and freedom will be studied, notably the conceptions of Arendt and
Foucault that draw on and at the same time challenge the antique and
modern ideas.

Teaching Methods

In lectures the larger timeline of the history of social philosophy and
its fundamental problems will be presented (3 hours per week); in
text-reading seminars, original texts of philosophers will be discussed
in detail (3 hours per week). Reading the original sources will give you
a better understanding of the specifics of the philosopher’s thinking.

Method of Assessment

- Weekly assignments: reading questions about the primary texts (6 times
5% = 30%).
- Written exam with essay questions on the course materials (70% of the
final grade). Minimum required grade for the
exam: 5,5.


The literature will be announced at Canvas two weeks in advance of the

Target Audience

This is a course in the Bachelor Philosophy, that requires the skills to
read and analyse philosophical texts.

Recommended background knowledge

Ancient Philosophy

General Information

Course Code W_BA_SOEN
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.M. Halsema
Examiner dr. J.M. Halsema
Teaching Staff dr. A.M. Verbrugge
dr. J.M. Halsema
dr. C.H. Krijnen

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: