Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 201200059
Philosophical Theories and Methods
Course infoSchedule
Course module201200059
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. Y. Saghai
Contactperson for the course
dr. Y. Saghai
dr. Y. Saghai
Academic year2022
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes

This course is open only to students enrolled in the Master’s degree programme PSTS.
In case you, being a student from another master’s programme, want to participate in this course, please contact the PSTS staff: or

Course objectives:
This course connects to the final qualifications K2, K5, S1 and S2 of the programme, according to the following two learning objectives: 
At the end of the course the student will be able to:
  • use interpretative methods to understand and engage with philosophical theories and texts;
  • use philosophical methods to identify, analyse and evaluate arguments in philosophical texts;
  • diagram arguments using a dedicated application;
  • reflect upon different ways of doing philosophy (methods, theories, means of expression).
At the end of the course the student will know:
  • the basics of deductive, inductive, and plausible argumentation and principles of textual interpretation;
  • some classical theories of the nature, foundations, and value of knowledge at the roots of contemporary epistemological debates on technology.

In this interactive course, students are introduced to, and trained in, methods for actively engaging, interpreting, analyzing and evaluating philosophical texts. Students will learn principles of textual interpretation and visual argument-diagramming techniques proven to enhance students’ critical engagement with texts and argumentation skills (using MindMup). To evaluate diagrammed arguments, students will learn to use the tools of argumentation theory (deductive, inductive, and plausible arguments) and identify common fallacies and cognitive biases.
In addition to methodology training, the course has a thematic focus on theories of knowledge (from Plato to pragmatism) at the roots of contemporary epistemological debates on technology. For instance, does the information we get from the internet count as knowledge or as pseudo- knowledge? Any debate on this issue is informed by Plato’s Meno, a lively and puzzling dialogue in which Socrates debates with his fellow Athenians the following question: is there any difference between knowing something and having a true belief about something without being able to justify it? 

Teaching methods
Lectures will be provided as pre-recorded videos with pre-class assignments; in-class time will be interactive with discussions and hands-on methodology training.


30%: Group essay (diagramming, analyzing, evaluating, and critically interpreting a brief text)
70%: Individual essay (diagramming, analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting a brief text)
Open creative reflection piece (in written, visual, tactile, or audio format) (pass/fail)

Each component has to be graded sufficient or more (i.e. 5.5 or more or pass/fail)

Participating study
Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Soc.
Required materials
Course material
Will be made available on Canvas
Walton, Douglas. Fundamentals of critical argumentation. Cambridge University Press, 2005
Nadler, Steven M., and Ben Nadler. Heretics! The wondrous (and dangerous) beginnings of modern philosophy. Princeton: New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2017
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Written assignments

Kies de Nederlandse taal