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Course module: FRRMV16009
Topics in the Philosophy of Human Rights
Course infoSchedule
Course codeFRRMV16009
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Humanities; Utrecht Graduate School of Humanities; Domein Filosofie en Religiewetenschap RMA;
Contact personprof. dr. M. Duwell
D.K Düring, MA
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. M. Duwell
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
1  (05/09/2018 to 02/11/2018)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotA: MON-morning, TUE-afternoon, WED-morning
Study mode
RemarkCounts towards the fulfillment of the “Topics Seminar” requirement for RMA Philosophy. Well suited to MAE students.
Enrolment periodfrom 20/08/2018 09:00 up to and including 21/08/2018 23:59
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Waiting listNo
Course placement process(Sub)school
Intended purpose of this Topics Seminar is for the participating student  (1) to become familiar with positions taken in the current debates over the specific topic area of the course; (2) to appreciate the arguments for and against the positions; and (3) to develop an independent judgment about the most promising approach in this area. In particular, this course aims to familiarize students with important concepts and problems in the contemporary philosophy of human rights and to enable them to think critically about the moral and political implications of this concept.
This "Topics Seminar" explores in depth issues and texts in the area of philosophy of human rights and addresses philosophical questions regarding the existence, content, nature, universality, justification, and legal status of human rights.  The specific topic will be different each time, so as to tailor it to current research developments in the field.

Previous topic (2016-17): “The Concept, Justification, and Application of Human Rights”
After World War II, the concept of human rights has become perhaps the most important way for individuals, groups and nations to articulate moral demands of special seriousness and urgency. We will cover some of the most important philosophical questions surrounding this concept such as its scope, foundation, justification and application.
The specific topic and instructor(s) for the coming year will be announced in the spring.
This course is for students in the RMA Philosophy programme; students from other M.A. programmes (such as History & Philosophy of Science or Applied Ethics),  should check with the course coordinator or the RMA Philosophy coordinator (, before enrolling, to ensure that they have the requisite philosophical background.
The entrance requirements for Exchange Students will be checked by International Office and the Programme coördinator. Therefore, you do not have to contact the Programme coördinator yourself.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for a degree programme of faculty Faculty of Humanities
  • Completed all course modules listed below
    • Mastercursussen Geesteswetenschappen (200501100)
Prerequisite knowledge
Broad familiarity with undergraduate-level work in the areas covered in the course. Students from outside the RMA programme who have not completed MA or advanced undergraduate courses in this area should consult the instructor before enrolling.
Private study materials
Will be made available via Blackboard.
Required materials
Instructional formats

General remarks
The course is taught in the form of a seminars in which lecture, close reading, discussion, group work and presentations

Class session preparation
Students are expect to have read carefully the required reading in advance of the seminar meeting and to be prepared to participate actively in the discussion of the texts and related issues.

Contribution to group work
Active participation, including taking responsibility for the discussions in groups.

Active participation
Test weight0
Minimum grade-

Test weight30
Minimum grade-

The assignment or examination is assessed for demonstrating understanding of the texts, skills of critical argumentation, and written communication skills.

A written assignment, take-home examination, or in-class examination is due half-way through the term.

Test weight70
Minimum grade-

The final paper is assessed for the quality of the research question, cogency of the argumentation, clarity of written expression, and demonstrated ability to relate the analysis to a clear understanding of the texts for the course.

The final paper is due in week 9.

Kies de Nederlandse taal