431013 :Sociale Filosofie voor Sociologie
(Social Philosophy for Sociology)

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
  • Reproduce and evaluate the tension between the aspirations of modernity and Enlightenment (individual autonomy, democracy, tolerance, state neutrality) and the challenges (heteronomy, totalitarianism, extremism, the role of religion in the public sphere)


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

The third part deals with a topic of great importance to sociologists: the specific character of modern societies and the challenges these are faced with. We will go into different perspectives, one of which will focus on the place and role of religion in democracy.



The evaluation consists in a written exam with conceptual and essay questions about parts 1 and 2 (60% of the final grade) and writing assignments about part 3 (40% of the final grade). Resits are possible for both the written exam and the writing assignments. 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

  • Bachelor Sociology ( 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Major: Cultuur in Vergelijkend Perspectief ( 2017 )
  • Major: Grootstedelijke vraagstukken ( 2017 )
  • Major: Sociale Risico's in een Veranderende Wereld ( 2017 )