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History & Archaeology×

Masters Degrees in Intellectual History, Netherlands

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In the Master's programme History of Politics and Society you will learn how to use historical insights into the functioning of democracy, citizenship and the market to solve current-day problems. Read more

What does this Master entail?

In the Master's programme History of Politics and Society you will learn how to use historical insights into the functioning of democracy, citizenship and the market to solve current-day problems.

Use historical insights to solve present-day issues
Have you wondered how some societies manage to achieve wealth, security, justice, and freedom – and eventual happiness – while others do not? What role do citizenship, democracy, and the organisation of the market play in this process? Why do you think it is so difficult to avoid negative effects such as social polarisation and environmental damage?

History and origins of institutions
These are the core questions addressed in our Master’s programme in History of Politics and Society. The central theme is the concept of ‘institutions’, in the broadest sense of the word: the formal and informal rules, customs, and organisational structures that make up a society, but are themselves the result of a historical development process. As such, this programme is closely related to Institutions, one of Utrecht University’s strategic international research themes.

In this programme, you will study the history and origins of institutions over the past 1,000 years. The emphasis is mainly on Europe in the modern age, but emphatically placed within a broader perspective, as the programme also pays attention to other eras and other parts of the world. You will combine your historical knowledge and academic skills with concepts from the social sciences. You will learn how to use comparative research methods, and methods for long-term analysis. You will develop the tools to contribute, as a historian, to the solution of contemporary problems.

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This course involves exploring the development of philosophy from Antiquity to early modern and modern times, with a particular emphasis on the genesis of modern scientific disciplines such as psychology, physics or chemistry, out of the traditional body of Aristotelian natural philosophy. Read more

Master's specialisation in History of Philosophy (Research)

This course involves exploring the development of philosophy from Antiquity to early modern and modern times, with a particular emphasis on the genesis of modern scientific disciplines such as psychology, physics or chemistry, out of the traditional body of Aristotelian natural philosophy.
There is no other academic discipline in which the past is so important as in philosophy: today's philosophers are still engaging with the pioneers of the field: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein. For this reason, the philosophy curriculum at Radboud University consists of a number of historical courses. The specialisation History of Philosophy covers the entire history of philosophy from the Presocratic philosophers up to today, divided into four periods: ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary.
Key authors for this specialisation are, in alphabetical order, Aristotle, Descartes, Epicurus, Galileo, German idealists, Hegel, Hobbes, Hume, Leibniz, Lucretius, Merleau-Ponty, Plato, Pomponazzi, Sartre, and Thomas Aquinas.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/history

Why study History of Philosophy at Radboud University?

- We offer a large choice of research courses in the history of philosophy.
- Our programme emphasises the importance of developing and using research skills.
- You will have a personal supervisor who will guide you during the entire programme.
- As a Research Master’s student, you’ll be affiliated with the Centre for the History of Philosophy and Science, which has received top rankings in the field in past national evaluations (2006 and 2013).
- This is an excellent preparation for post-graduate life due to the specialised character of the Research Master's thesis: a publishable article and a PhD research proposal.
- Students have a high chance of obtaining a PhD position in the Netherlands or abroad.
- There is an international climate: more than half of the teaching staff and Research Master’s students are from outside the Netherlands.

Career prospects

Philosophy has a unique role within contemporary society. Unlike other academic disciplines, its subject matter is not limited to one set of questions, or one domain of investigation. Philosophers investigate varied aspects of science and society. In order to do this, they must possess two essential skills; the ability to analyse complex issues logically and conceptually, and the ability to document their conclusions using clear and persuasive language. Such skills require intensive training. The Research Master's programme in Philosophy constitutes the first vocational step towards the acquisition of these skills.

Job positions

This programme is designed for people aiming to do research in the field. Graduates tend to fall into three groups. The majority of the students continue their research within academia by applying for a doctoral programme in the Netherlands or abroad. We take particular pride in the fact that over 75 percent of our graduates manage to obtain a PhD position within two years of graduating. A second group goes on to teach philosophy at secondary schools. And a third group enter research-related professions outside of education. Our graduates are also represented in journalism, science policy, and politics.

Our research in this field

All of the research related to this specialisation is embedded in the Centre for the History of Philosophy and Science. This internationally renowned centre is dedicated to the study of the historical interrelation of philosophy and the sciences. Many of the researchers affiliated with the centre investigate the evolution of natural philosophy since Aristotle and the development of the different natural scientific disciplines (such as physics, chemistry or psychology) since the seventeenth century. Although the centre is best known for its expertise in the ancient, medieval and early modern periods, the researchers also cover the entire period from the Aristotelian corpus up to contemporary philosophy.

The focus on natural philosophy is due to the consideration that, at least up to the eighteenth century, factors such as time, space, the motion of stars, and the nature of the human soul were all integral parts of (natural) philosophy. Nijmegen's Center for the History of Philosophy and Science is the only research centre in the world dedicated to the investigation of this historical development.

Thesis subjects in History of Philosophy

The centre is active in organising public lectures, seminars and colloquia, which students are very welcome to attend. Although many research Master’s students choose a topic related to the research activities of the Centre, this is not mandatory. Recent Master’s theses (publishable articles) were about the following themes:
- The use of history in utopian tales
- The Vatican censorship of Paracelsus
- Thought experiments in Locke and Leibniz
- The theme of flight in Plato and Philo of Alexandria
- Bergson’s method of intuition
- Chiffons of Clairvaux on the will
- Perceptual experience in Merleau-Ponty
- Agamben’s reading of Hegel

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/history

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