Contemporary Political Philosophy

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The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW), and the Universities of Utrecht, Leiden, and Nijmegen invite all PhD and Research Master students to register for the five-day course “Contemporary Political Philosophy”, that will take place in Utrecht, Leiden, and Nijmegen on five following Fridays, January-March 2018.


Organizing university

Utrecht University, Leiden University, Radboud University


January 12, 19, February 2, 16, and March 2, 2018


On varying locations (Utrecht, Leiden, Nijmegen)

Type of activity

5-day course

Type of activity

5 EC

Primary target group

PhD students, 2nd year ReMa students

Application/registration deadline

November 3, 2017

About the topic

Contemporary political philosophy shows a great variety of approaches, methods, and topics. We will discuss some of the core questions in contemporary political philosophy and engage in close reading classical and contemporary texts. The course will focus on selected topics concerning order and conflict; liberalism and republicanism; theories of justice; democratic theory; and methodological disputes about realism and idealism.

Aim / objective

The general idea of the course is to have a discussion in seminar style. All invited speakers deliver two texts. Speaker and students together discuss the text; no lectures are given. All speakers are invited for the whole day, and engage in general discussion at the end of the day. This seminar in political philosophy aims to give PhD candidates a sense of the ‘state of the art’ in the discipline. For each session, a scholar working on that topic at a Flemish or Dutch university will select the texts and join the discussion. We aim to create an atmosphere where junior and senior researchers explore philosophical questions together in an open and constructive manner.


Day 1: Conflict & Order
Friday 12-01-2018, Utrecht
Chair: Rutger Claassen / Thomas Fossen

10.30-12.30 Conflict & power (Marin Terpstra)
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 Politics & law (Hans Lindahl)
15.30-16.00 Coffee/tea break
16.00-17.00 General discussion

Day 2: Liberalism & republicanism
Friday 19-01-2018, Nijmegen
Chair: Marin Terpstra

10.30-12.30 TBA (Annelien de Dijn)
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 Secularism, multiculturalism & religion (Anya Topolski)
15.30-16.00 Coffee/tea break
16.00-17.00 General discussion

Day 3: Democracy and its discontents
Friday 02-02-2018, Leiden
Chair: Thomas Fossen

10.30-12.30 The authority of democracy (Dorota Mokrosinska)
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 The boundaries of the demos and the question of populism (Stefan Rummens)
15.30-16.00 Coffee/tea break
16.00-17.00 General discussion

Day 4: Questions of justice
Friday 16-02-2018, Utrecht
Chair: Rutger Claassen

10.30-12.30 Inequalities in wealth and income (Rutger Claassen)
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 Global justice (Tamar de Waal)
15.30-16.00 Coffee/tea break
16.00-17.00 General discussion

Day 5: Methodological debates
Friday 02-03-2018, Utrecht
Chair: Marin Terpstra / Rutger Claassen

10.30-12.30 Realism vs. idealism (Thomas Fossen)
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 Political philosophy and the social sciences (Antoon Braeckman)
15.30-16.00 Coffee/tea break
16.00-17.00 General discussion


  • Antoon Braeckman, KU Leuven
  • Rutger Claassen, Utrecht University
  • Thomas Fossen, Leiden University
  • Hans Lindahl, Tilburg University
  • Dorota Mokrosinska, Leiden University
  • Annelien de Dijn, University of Amsterdam
  • Tamar de Waal, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Stefan Rummens, KU Leuven
  • Marin Terpstra, Radboud University
  • Anya Topolski, Radboud University

Required preparations

The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to participate actively in the discussions and, if they wish to earn credit, to write a paper at the end of the course.

Certificate / credit points



For OZSW members: €50, which will cover lunches, drinks and refreshments during the day.
For others: €150.
Limited budget is available to financially support OZSW Research Master students living far away from the course location. If you want to benefit from this travel support, please send a motivated request to before November 3, 2017.

How to apply / register

Please register using the form below.

Registration/application form


Marin Terpstra (Radboud University)
Dr. Rutger Claassen (Utrecht University)
Dr. Thomas Fossen (Leiden University)

Contact info