Is the world the way we think it is? What do we know? How can we distinguish between good and bad? Right and wrong? No matter what answers you give to these questions, they will depend on and shape - a philosophical conception. In studying philosophy you will learn the meaning and the implications of questions like these. You will also learn how to formulate these questions and how to evaluate the diverse answers that such questions have received over the centuries. In fact, philosophy has always addressed such fundamental questions, questions that are often ignored because the answers are taken for granted. So you will not only be trained in a discipline and a method, but also learn its history. Philosophy has a long history and studying this history will make you realize that the meaning of big philosophical questions - such as "What is the soul?", "What is science?" or "What is it to be moral?" - can change profoundly in the course of time. But what they mean today depends in part on the answers given by thinkers of the past.
Following the new BA philosophy programme at the VU will make you an independent thinker. You will learn not only about the fundamental questions of philosophy, but also about the relationship between philosophy, science and society. You will be trained to think critically about all the aspects of philosophical issues, both the fundamental theoretical aspects (logic, epistemology, theory of science) and the practical and societal (ethics, politics, theory of society). The programme is for ambitious students who want to understand the world and make it a better place. Philosophy is not only a field of knowledge and a key element of our culture, but also a useful tool: as you study philosophy you develop specific skills, such as critical thinking, analysing and evaluating texts, constructing an argumentation and responding to objections. This philosophy programme is designed to offer you all the necessary courses for acquiring a solid preparation in philosophy and for developing competences that are essential to philosophy, but are also very much sought after on the job market.
You will be taught in relatively small groups, where you will have ample opportunity to engage in critical discussion and develop your own views in interaction with your fellow students. If you are interested in what philosophy can do for science and society at large, VU Amsterdam is an excellent choice. VU has a close-knit campus, strong societal awareness, and close interaction with other disciplines. Philosophy is an essential part of any VU educational programme, so you will have ample opportunity to talk with fellow students about the relationship between philosophy and (to bring just a few examples) science, law, art, or religion. The programme also allows you to study philosophy as a second major.
Studying philosophy at VU Amsterdam calls for active participation, intense study and great ambition. We foster all of this in working seminars, in which we guide you in the pursuit of knowledge. You are expected to adopt an independent attitude towards learning in general, to participate actively in group meetings, and to prepare well for lectures.
During the first year, you take part in foundational courses in logic, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, and also in introductory courses in the history of philosophy: general surveys of ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophical traditions will provide you with the basis for expanding your knowledge: you will acquire a broad understanding of the field of philosophy and its methodology, and of the various research questions that define that field.
In the second year you will both revise and refine your knowledge: you will attend courses in ethics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind, and youll be working more in-depth; some special courses will be devoted to the reading and analysis of classical philosophical texts, others will concern Arabic philosophy and diversity in philosophy. What has the Greek philosophical tradition given rise to in contexts other than the Western one?
In the first semester of the third year you can follow a minor programme of your own choice, which allows you to deepen your knowledge of a specific philosophical subject or to get acquainted with another discipline. The final semester will be devoted to writing your BA thesis. You choose a subject that you find of particular interest, in consultation with your supervisor. In this final stage, you will apply the knowledge you acquired and the research skills you learnt so far, to produce an original work in which you develop your own philosophical views.
Philosophy offers a genuine preparation and support for any job; by studying with us you develop skills which are essential to philosophy, but are also valued by a broad range of potential employers. Philosophy consists in uncovering and critically assessing the implicit presuppositions in a text or argument. You will develop the essential skills of analysis and critical evaluation. In addition, you will learn how to write academic texts and how to present and defend your views in oral presentations. Well-regarded statistical studies have shown that, among students of the humanities, philosophers have a high chance of finding a job. As a philosophy graduate, you can apply for positions such as (ethical) advisor or policy officer at a government ministry or a hospital, but also as an editor, journalist or teacher.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. The campus is surrounded by one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands hosting over 700 companies.
With more than 23,000 students, of which 3,300 are international, the university conducts cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes reflecting a strong level of involvement in current societal issues: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, to engage with society and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world. In addition Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.