I joined the programme after finishing my Psychology Bachelor.
In the first semester of the last year of this bachelor I took the
Philosophy Minor. It was there that I was introduced to a topic
that made everything else I had ever learned about pale in
comparison: Metaethics. When I returned to psychology I tried to
integrate my new found passion in my studies, writing my thesis on
the effects of empathy on metaethical attitudes. While writing my
thesis, I realised that I enjoyed the philosophical work a lot more
than the psychological work. So, I made an appointment with the
faculty’s student advisor, hoping some arrangement could be
made, but feeling rather pessimistic about it.
A programme tailored to me
The conversation I had that day characterises how the faculty
sees its students. The emphasis was not on whether I had the right
skill-set or profile to fit the programme, but on how the programme
could be tailored to me, so that it would be conducive to my goals.
The presumption appeared to be that I would succeed, given that I
received the right guidance. I have set my goals (even) higher now,
having decided to use the programme as a pre-master for the
Research Master in Philosophy, which has quite strict selection
criteria. I tend to get overwhelmed from time to time, when I think
about having to meet these criteria. But, as I said before, I never
get discouraged and that is because there is always someone, staff
or student, who will take the time to take you through the material
again, answer your questions and address your doubts, or to provide
you with the necessary encouragement.
Learn from some of the brightest minds in
What you take from the programme strongly depends on your
personal interests and background. No matter which courses you
choose to follow, however, you will have the opportunity to learn
from some of the brightest minds in philosophy. Though these
philosophers all have their own take on what philosophy is about
and which questions are relevant, there is one thing each and every
one will teach you. You will learn to evaluate, and more
importantly, value your own thoughts and ideas.
Now, I believe this is something that you can only learn by doing
philosophy. The moment you walk into your first lecture, and here I
paraphrase prof. dr Martin Lenz, you join the huge
conversation that is philosophy. Lecturers will ask you about
your take on a philosophical problem, or your objections to a
position, because your input is considered valuable. After a while,
you will – hopefully – learn to see this too, and be
able to contribute your unique views and ideas to the philosophical
Lectures are very interactive
Most importantly perhaps, the programme is also a lot of fun.
Lectures are very interactive, so there is plenty of room for
discussion with your lecturers and peers. There is a wide of range
of interesting and challenging topics you can study, and when you
find a topic you love chances are that there will be someone on
staff that will happily take the time to tell you all about it.
STUFF, the Faculty’s study association, organises all kinds
of study-related and social activities, that will make your
experience as a philosophy student even more enjoyable. To
summarize, if you enrol in the Philosophy of a Specific Discipline
Programme you will run a serious risk of never wanting to return to
your main field of study. But that’s alright, because
it’s never too late to become of a philosopher.