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Winter School: Paradoxes and Dilemmas

On January 26th-27th 2015, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen will host a short Winter School aimed at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The theme of the winter school is Paradoxes and Dilemmas, and it will consist of 6 tutorials where the topic will be discussed from different viewpoints: theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and the history of philosophy.


Philosophy, it is often said, is the practice of asking questions about what seems obvious and straightforward, which then turns out not to be so simple after all. Among the main philosophical tools to expose the non-obviousness of apparently unproblematic notions are the paradoxes: starting from apparently plausible premises, to derive an apparently implausible conclusion through apparently acceptable reasoning. Faced with a paradox, an agent must make choices, as the paradox exposes the incoherence of (the collection of) her beliefs: something’s got to go.

Dilemmas form a closely related philosophical tool, as they concern choices between actions rather than between propositions. A dilemma is a situation in which two (or more) possibilities for action are available to the agent, which seem to be equally bad. Dilemmas are extensively discussed in ethics and political philosophy, but appear widely in philosophical discussion. Ideally, they contribute to solving philosophical puzzles by showing that certain theoretical options are untenable. So they too lead to the realization that things are not as simple as they seem.

Lecturers and Tutorials

  • Catarina Dutilh Novaes: ‘Paradoxes: at the heart of philosophy’
  • Barteld Kooi: ‘Epistemic paradoxes: is the concept of knowledge incoherent?’
  • Han -Thomas Adriaenssen : ‘Divine foreknowledge versus free will? Theology and modality in the Middle Ages’
  • Sander de Boer: 'So what were these Aristotelian forms supposed to do again? Late Medieval and Early Modern metaphysics'
  • Frank Hindriks: ‘Trolleyology: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Moral Dilemma’
  • Marc Pauly: ‘Philosophical Dilemmas in Public Policy: Ontology meets Ethics’

As such, the program will showcase the high level of teaching and research of the three departments of the Faculty (theoretical philosophy; ethics, social and political philosophy; history of philosophy). The winter school aims in particular (but not exclusively) to attract potential talented students for our Research Masters’ program , who in this way will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the Faculty and the different lines of research we pursue.


The Faculty is offering up to three EUR 300 scholarships for the best students enrolling in the winter school, and who express serious interest in later applying for the Research Masters’ program. Moreover, participants who are then accepted in the Research Masters’ program for the year 2015/2016 will have their registration fee for the winter school reimbursed.

To apply for the scholarships, send a short CV (max 2 pages) and a letter (max 1 page) stating your interest in the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen and the Research Masters’ program in particular, to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' with 'Application for winter school scholarship' as subject. Deadline to apply for the scholarships: December 1st 2014. Preference will be given to members of underrepresented groups in philosophy (women, people of color, persons with disabilities etc.).


To register, send an email with your name, affiliation and status (undergraduate, graduate) to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' with 'Registration for winter school' as subject, no later than December 15th 2014. As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early.


Another attractive feature of the winter school is the fact that a major international conference will take place immediately after the school (in Rotterdam), which makes a trip to the Netherlands even more worthwhile for those coming from far away.

Seventh Conference of the Dutch-Flemish Association for Analytic Philosophy (Rotterdam, January 28-30)

General Information

  • Dates: January 26th – 27th 2015
  • Scholarship application deadline: December 1st 2014
  • Registration deadline: December 15th 2014
  • Registration fee: EUR 40, to be paid in person in Groningen (and to be reimbursed for those later accepted in the ReMa program)

Further inquiries can be directed to Catarina Dutilh Novaes, c.dutilh.novaes 'at'


Full Programme


Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (Oude Boteringestraat 38), room 130.

Last modified:31 August 2021 4.10 p.m.