Research course

Social and Political Philosophy (Research) (specialisation)

Radboud University · Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
MA by research

Entry requirements

Please find all the relevant information about admission requirements on our website.

Months of entry

September, February

Course content

Studying ‘the political' as an essential but conflict-ridden aspect of the human condition, and how politics is a way of coping with the issues resulting from this.

Everything is political, but nothing is only political. That is the basic intuition behind the research Master’s in Social and Political Philosophy at Radboud University. So, there’s no such thing as ‘pure politics', everything political is dependent on social, economic, and other conditions. At the same time, everything is ‘political' in the sense that decisions regarding social phenomena rest upon contestable beliefs and meanings, and not on objective judgements or ‘ ‘Truth’ (even if many ‘truths’ are being invoked). Politics thus implies a dimension of reflexive understanding, and political re-shifting is necessary due to shifts of those beliefs through time and due to discussions between disagreeing parties. Politics is not about either banal everyday affairs and particular interests or about lofty ideals and utopian visions, but always about both in their interrelation.

Today's global, although maybe better: glocal, world is marked by a clash not of civilisations, but of conceptualisations. Philosophy plays a significant role in the latter, both in their proliferation and in their deconstruction or critique. Unlike political theory, which focuses on concepts used in the current political arena, political philosophy focuses more on the concepts themselves. What is political conflict? Why is there politics in the first place? Power? Freedom? Is conflict an unavoidable evil or is it actually constructive? You’ll gain insight into how to ask questions that are significant for the contemporary age and examine them in the light of major thinkers from the philosophical tradition.

How fundamental concepts such as freedom, power, justice, and so on are judged and how words and phrases are being used in political debates, has an essential impact on the outcome of a debate. As a social and political philosopher you’ll be geared towards pinpointing where these – often unconscious – assumptions are at work. This will enable you to make people aware of them.

Key authors for this specialisation are, in alphabetical order: Aristotle, Arendt, Foucault, Hobbes, Kant, Macchiavelli, Marx, Rawls, Schmitt, Spinoza, and Žižek.

Fees and funding

UK students
£1.515,00 (€ 1,984)
International students
£ 6.682,00 (€ 9,232)

Qualification and course duration

MA by research

full time
24 months

Course contact details

Admission Office