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After the Middle Ages, due to increased freedom for the individual and discoveries of scientists like Galilei and Newton, a firm belief arose in the progress of human knowledge, morals and society. This belief and trust reigned for some centuries. However, some 19th-century scientists were able to shake the prevalent optimism: Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud.

According to their theories, the confidence in mankind's rationality and autonomy was founded on illusions and (self)deception. In addition, they argued against the power relations or forms of suppression that contributed to the hegemony of western modern thought. 

In the (guest)lectures and seminars, we will shed light on the theories of these thinkers and the scientific and social consequences of their ideas. We will also consider the positionality of these authors by confronting them with more recent critical, feminist and post-colonial authors.

As a result, we will address the question of what rationality and morality might look like today. The course challenges students also to develop their own ideas about science, truth and morals. 


We now expect that all lectures can take place on-campus. In case the situation changes, you will be notified. You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Registration is possible for first, second (or higher) year students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on November 29, 10 am -  December 6, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS(registration is NOT through SIS or GLASS).

Please note: There is no guarantee for placement if you register after 6 December, so make sure you register on time. You will hear which course(s) you are registered for before 20 december. For questions about registration, please contact us at Honours-iis@uva.nl.

More information

Facts & Figures
Honours programme
6 ECTS, 15 weeks
Language of instruction
Conditions for admission
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