The City Through a Philosopher’s Eye

In this course, students will be introduced to the practical world of philosophy and will learn how to look at the city through the perspective of the philosopher.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Session 14 July to 18 July 2020
Recommended session 2 course combination
African Christianity and Global Culture, Amsterdam in Global Capitalism: 1500-present, Discover the Dutch: Language and Culture
Co-ordinating lecturersDr C. (Cor) van Montfort
Other lecturersProf M. Ehren. Prof J. Drerup, Dr A. Schinkel
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, presentations, discussions
Form(s) of assessmentA short paper and portfolio of pictures or short movies in which philosophical concepts are connected with ´what we see.´
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150, read more about what's included.
This course is for Advanced Bachelor’s students. However, enthusiastic Master’s students, PhD candidates, and professionals who are interested in practical philosophy are also very welcome to register for this summer course. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know.
In this course, students will be introduced to the practical world of philosophy and will learn how to look at the city through the perspective of the philosopher. This course will introduce and discuss general philosophical concepts such as ‘freedom,’ ‘justice,’ ‘trust, ’ ‘tolerance, ’ ’wonder,’ and ‘the good life’. There will be discussions centred around a wide range of topics.

Such topics include:

  • Positive and negative freedom.
  • The communitarian perspective on justice.
  • Trust in institutions.
  • The role of tolerance in the discussion about freedom of religion and the wearing of head scarfs.
  • The concepts of inquisitive and contemplative wonder.
  • A hedonistic and moral view on the Good Life.

After each meeting we will encourage students to go into the city and walk around, observing their surroundings while taking pictures or videos to document examples of philosophy in practice. Afterwards, they will present their findings and discuss them within the group. In the presentation, students will combine the information from the lecture with literature and their real-world observations.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a solid understanding of philosophical concepts
  • Show understanding of the real-world application of the philosophical concepts covered in the course.
  • To consider at a city through a philosopher’s eye.


Excursion to The Hague (Dutch parliament, Court of Justice)
  • R.W. Hepburn (1980, 2016)  Wonder. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, Volume 54, Issue 1, 13 July 1980, Pages 1–24, https://doi.org/10.1093/aristoteliansupp/54.1.1
  • A. Schinkel (2017), The Educational Importance of Deep Wonder. Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 51, No. 2, 2017
  • A. MacIntyre, After Virtue, 1981 (2007), University of Notre Dame Press, Indiana. Chapter 15, The virtues, the unity of a human life and the concept of a tradition, p. 222-243. https://epistemh.pbworks.com/f/4.+Macintyre.pdf
  • Bart van Leeuwen (2014), Urban civility or urban community? A false opposition in Richard Sennett’s conception of public ethos. European Journal of Social Theory, Vol 17(1) 3–23. DOI: 10.1177/1368431013484002

More to be announced.

Dr Cor van Montfort is senior researcher at de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Educational Studies, LEARN! - Education, identity and diversity.
He is also member of the National Education Council and research fellow at Tilburg University. In his current research he focuses on:  (1) the relation between good governance, public accountability and the quality of education (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and (2) Public-private partnerships for livable cities (Tilburg University). He regularly teaches philosophy courses for board members and supervisors in public organizations like schools or social housing corporations.

Prof M. Ehren – full professor, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Educational Studies, LEARN! - Education, identity and diversity
Prof J. Drerup – full professor, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Educational Studies, LEARN! - Education, identity and diversity
Dr A. Schinkel – associate professor, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Educational Studies, LEARN! - Education, identity and diversity

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