431012 :Sociale Filosofie voor PEW
(Social Philosophy for Human Resource Studies)

General info

Instruction language Dutch
Type of Instruction Plenary lectures (13x2 hours) and Working groups (5x2 hours) (Lecture schedule)
Type of exams Written (Examination schedule)
Course load:6 ECTS credits
Blackboard InfoLink to Blackboard (When you see 'Guest are not allowed in this course', please login at Blackboard itself)


dr. B. Engelen (Coördinator)


After the course the student is able to:

  • Analyse the views of the founders of social sciences (Marx, Durkheim, Weber) from a philosophical perspective and situate their relevance
  • Reproduce and compare different theories with respect to the specific nature of contemporary societies
  • Explain the problems that (post)modern societies face
  • Sum up the different points of view in recent debates on social justice, power and communication
  • Uncover and analyze the tensions in the desire for authenticity
  • Summarize the limits of financial and other incentives and connect these to the importance of intrinsic motivations and social norms.


The course has three parts. The first part considers three different models for social sciences:

  1. Historical materialism (Marx)
  2. Positivism and Holism (Durkheim)
  3. Interpretative individualism (Weber)

The second part deals with the most important themes and movements in contemporary social philosophy, focused at the following questions:

  • Social justice
  • Power and communication
  • Modernity and postmodernity 

Part 3 treats a theme which is especially important for Human Resource Studies: individual identity and the role modern media and social norms play in this respect. We focus on the desire for authenticity in the digital age, the neoliberal organisation of society and the limits of financial and other incentives in motivation desirable behavior.



The evaluation consists in a written exam with conceptual and essay questions (75% of the final grade) and a writing assignment (25% of the final grade). Resits are possible for both the written exam and the writing assignment. More information will be provided during lectures, workgroups and through Blackboard.

Compulsory Reading

  1. Frans van Peperstraten, Samenleving ter discussie, Coutinho, 1999, ISBN 90 6283 156 7.
  2. Additional texts will be provided through Blackboard

Compulsory for