Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty on Freedom

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and University of Amsterdam invite ReMa students in philosophy to register for the course Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty on Freedom to take place in Feb-March 2024.


Organizing university



Thursdays on February 15, 22 & 29 and March 7, 14 & 21, 2024 from 12:00-15:00.


OMHP E1.08

Type of activity


Primary target group

Philosophy ReMa students

If places available, also open to

PhD candidates. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to assistant.director@ozsw.nl to be put on a waiting list. You will be notified asap if you can register and join the course.

Application/registration deadline

The deadline for registration is on 12 December 2023.

About the topic

Has freedom become an irrelevant theme in philosophy? In this seminar we argue that it has not and cannot. For this, we focus on understanding the way in which Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty address the question of human freedom. Other related themes that will be discussed include the notions of transcendence and the body. Sessions are based on close reading of a number of selected texts (see reading list below). Three hour sessions will be divided in 1 hour lecture and 2h for questions and discussions. There will also be room for discussing secondary literature that focuses on comparing Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.

Aim / objective

Students will get an in depth understanding of key texts by Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty around the themes of Freedom, Transcendence, and the Body.


Katia Hay

Key note speakers

Victor Kal and Maarten Coolen

Required preparations

Read the material on time on a weekly basis. Prepare 2 questions for each session. Texts will be made available a week before the classes start.

Weekly readings:

1 -Transcendence. Reading: ‘Vom Wesen des Grundes’ (1929)

2-Freedom. Reading: ‘Vom Wesen der Wahrheit’ (1930) + Nachwort zu “Was ist Metaphysik?” (1943)

3-The Fourfold (das Geviert): Reading: ‘Bauen Wohnen Denken’ (1952) + Beiträge zur Philosophie (1936) par. 152, 189, 190

4Bodily Existence and Moving Towards the Possible. Reading: Part One, Chapter III: ‘The Spatiality of One’s Own Body and Motricity’, from the book Phenomenology of Perception

5 -Situated Freedom. Reading: (i) Part Three, Chapter III: ‘Freedom’, from the book Phenomenology of Perception.

(ii) Commentary by J.J. Compton.

6 -Other Vision Than We Got Accustomed To. Reading: Excerpts from Eye and Mind.

Students prepare 1-2 questions for each session in groups.
Final paper and/or oral examination.

Last updated on May 1st, 2023

Certificate / credit points

For this course participants can earn a certificate after successful completion. Please note, however, that the OZSW is not accredited to reward students with credits/ECTS directly. The study load is mentioned on the certificate, which can usually be exchanged for ‘real’ credits (ECTS) at your home university. The study load for this activity is: 6 EC.


Attendance is free for

Attendance is 300 euros for all others.

How to apply / register

Please click here to register for the course.

If registration has been closed because the maximum amount of participants has been reached, you can submit your name to the waiting list by sending an email to assistant.director@ozsw.nl. Please also indicate whether you are a ReMa student or PhD candidate and whether you are a member of the OZSW or not.

Cancellation and registration policy


Katia Hay, UvA, k.d.hay.rodgers@uva.nl