Philosophy and science don't mix. Or do they? What we nowadays call "science" used to be part of "philosophy." It is not without reason that Isaac Newton called his physical masterpiece "The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy." And today, the two are still closely connected. Our current worldview is strongly shaped by scientific thought. We look to science for both answers to our theoretical questions and solutions to our practical problems. The Master's programme in Philosophy and Science analyses the relation of philosophy and science in terms of their historical development, as well as the current situation. How did the scientific worldview come from? What are its ingredients? What have models for the relationship between philosophical and scientific thinking been proposed?

  • Focusing on the historical and systematic relationship between philosophy and science is unique in the Netherlands.
  • The Philosophy faculty does not just have close ties with scientists and professors at the other faculties on campus; philosophy as a subject is an integral part of all the faculties at Radboud University. This makes it easier for our students to combine Philosophy with any discipline when working on their thesis.
  • Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups.
  • The seminars specifically train skills such as critical reading, analytical thinking, policy writing and debating.
  • This Master's specialisation is run by the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science (CHSP), the only centre in the world that studies philosophy and science as historically intertwined phenomena.
  • This Master's specialisation is aimed at career prospects in, as well outside of, research.

More about the discipline of Philosophy and Science The first reason for combining philosophy and science in a single Master's specialisation is historical: What we nowadays call "science" used to be part of "philosophy." Both Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin saw their most famous works as treatises in natural philosophy. However, as a consequence of the Scientific Revolution, the various natural and social sciences have ever more strongly emancipated themselves from philosophy. The distinction between "philosophy" and "science" is, therefore, the result of recent development. Philosophy has reacted to this development in a number of interesting ways. Since about 1900, there have been schools of thought that separated philosophy and the sciences thoroughly, by pitting philosophical truth against scientific instrumentality. However, there have also been attempts to attune philosophy entirely to the demands of the sciences. The second reason for combining these two human activities in one a programme is systematic in nature and has to do with our present condition. Our current worldview is strongly shaped by scientific thought. We look to science both for answers to our theoretical questions and for solutions to our practical problems. Over the past centuries, the Western world has become defined by scientific thought and practice. Today, we live in a ‘knowledge society', our everyday explanations are permeated by scientific jargon, and we seek the solutions to all sorts of problems in the realm of science and technology. Moreover, we seek to secure the future of our national wealth in innovation, which in turn we try to stimulate by means of scientific research policies aimed at strengthening research and development. Paradoxically, scientific research also furnishes indications of the limits and detrimental effects of our dominant growth models while at the same time indicating ways out of the impasse.

During this one-year Master's specialisation, you can learn more about topics such as:

  • Concepts of space and time from Aristotle to Einstein.
  • The origin and development of a discipline dealing with mind, soul and body (i.e. psychology).
  • The evolution and the mind and the implications of Darwin's evolutionary theory for our mental categories.
  • The tasks of philosophy and whether it offers rationality, wisdom or happiness.
  • The philosophical critique of science, including authors such as Husserl, Heidegger, Adorno, Habermas, Foucault and Lyotard.
  • The scientific worldview and its future.

Admission requirements

As an international student, your prior education must meet certain requirements.

1. A completed Bachelor's degree in Philosophy or have another Bachelor's diploma with a philosophical component of at least 60 EC.

2.Proficiency in English

In order to take part in this programme, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. Non-native speakers of English* without a Dutch Bachelor's degree or VWO diploma need one of the following:

  • A TOEFL score of ≥577 (paper based) or ≥90 (internet based)
  • An IELTS score of ≥6.5
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher

Deadlines

Programmes start in September and February

Quality label

Both the Keuzegids Masters and the Bachelor’s programme information guide Keuzegids Universiteiten have now designated Radboud University as the ‘Best General University’ in the Netherlands.

Program taught in:
English

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Last updated January 31, 2019
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