Modern Philosophy: Mind and Body


Course Objective

You will acquire knowledge of
• normative ethics (Kantian ethics, consequentialism);
• the recent debate on the collective action problem.

You will acquire the skill to
• evaluate solutions to the collective action problem, and develop your
own view on this;
• apply the above issues to concrete cases (e.g. voting, ethical
consumerism, donating).

Course Content

Is it wrong to consume animal products, to buy products made in
exploitation, or to fail to reduce our carbon emissions? In this course,
we examine the main ethical theories, specifically Kantian ethics and
consequentialism. We also address the collective action problem: given
that many of our actions make no difference (such as voting, consuming,
and donating), how can we still say they are right or wrong? In response
to this, we will consider several solutions currently proposed in the
literature (in terms of expected utility and complicity), and also
evaluate whether Kant’s formula of universal law and variants of
consequentialism may help out.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars

Method of Assessment

Assignments (50% in total)
Final written exam (50%)


The list of required readings will be included in the course manual.

Target Audience

Master students Philosophy 2y

General Information

Course Code W_MA_MOD
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. van Hees
Examiner prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. van Hees
Teaching Staff prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. van Hees

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: