LDE-minor: Modes of Existence: Architecture and Philosophy (MAP)

Minor code
10 weeks


This minor offers a theoretical and practical merger of philosophy and architecture via (speculative) design. It gives students the opportunity to close-read key contemporary theoretical texts while addressing problems in the built environment and its eco-political context in a transdisciplinary and hands-on way.

Architecture and philosophy, as a material-discursive practice, has literally and materially shaped and built our living environments for centuries, building on concepts such as identity, value, and socio-economic status. Nevertheless, we are often oblivious to a) how these environments are produced; b) how they affect us; and c) how we may affect them in return. What if architects and philosophers work together to approach the world not through the worn dualism of objective structures and subjective interpretations, but in terms of its various modes of existence? It would be to understand the urban environment relationally, that is, as composed of heterogenous but intersecting processes of becoming. Dynamic and incomplete by definition, it is only through the convergence of modes that nature and technology, culture, science, politics, law, and daily existence become coherent and concrete.

To think and build in terms of modes, means to participate in their ecology. This calls for the development of new conceptual and methodological frameworks capable not only of describing ‘what is’, or anticipating ‘what might be’, but especially to become aware of processes and networks that produce and foster actual change. Thus, the transdisciplinary convergence of architecture and philosophy is a vital component in the formation of new environmental knowledges and urban awareness.

The broadening minor ‘Modes of Existence: Architecture and Philosophy’ (MAP) offers a theoretical and practical merger of philosophy and architecture via (speculative) design. It gives students of architecture and philosophy the opportunity to close-read key contemporary theoretical texts, while learning to put concepts into practice by addressing public issues with a design-oriented eye. Further, students will learn how to bring ideas to life within a given urban context by working closely with other human and non-human interlocutors, including residents, stakeholders and cutting-edge technologies. Teaching will be hybrid and involves workshops (offline) and seminars/lectures (online optional).

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the three modules, the students will have

  • Acquired the academic skills for thinking, reading, presenting, and collaborating in an inclusive and transdisciplinary manner, in particular a sensibility for problems at the interface of architecture and philosophy;
  • Acquired a conceptual toolbox for thinking in terms of relations and speculative-interactive design;
  • Learned to apply contemporary ideas and debates in a dynamic urban setting in engaged, responsible, and non-reactive ways;
  • Acquired or developed basic (technical) design skills while contributing to ecological literacy

Special aspects

The minor is open to all students under the LDE agreements. No prior knowledge, skills or specialisation are required, but it is recommended to students with affinities and interests in theoretical and philosophical questions as well as in (architectural, environmental and spatial) design.

BK and EUR students follow part A (module 1-3) for 15 EC minor. Additional courses award 15 EC in part B (module 4, 5, and 6 or 7).

Overview minor modules

Module 1. Ecophilosophy: Beyond Sustainability and Environment

  • EC: 3,75
  • Content: In this course, we analyse the transition from a linear, oppositional, externalising, identity based discourse on ecology to a circular, inclusive discourse that is based on an ecophilosophical perspective that focuses on differences and relations. Connecting the domains of art, science and politics to philosophy, a threefold ecology (ECO3) is explored and fed back into the current debates on ecology. The broad perspective is the proposition that after the modern enlightenment of the mind 21st century schizoid man is looking up to a new, medial enlightenment that acknowledges the productive role of different technologies for the constitution of our self-consciousness and of physical and social assemblages in the Anthropocene.
  • Teaching methods: Lectures and tutorials
  • Teaching materials: see Canvas
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week.
  • Self study: 20 hours per week

Module 2. Human Conditions II

  • EC: 3,75 
  • Content: In this second part of ‘Human Conditions’ we will focus on Phenomenological & Hermeneutical approaches. Our point of departure will be the fortuitousness of western philosophy and the unsolved, but ever tantalising question, how we may comprehend the phenomenon of human existence while simultaneously being 'subject' and 'object' of this attempt toward comprehension ourselves. Key figures in this course will be: Kierkegaard (on truth and individual existence), Husserl (on transcendental subjectivity as the ‘wonder of all wonders’), Heidegger (on the 'event' of being human and the framing of existence in the era of Technology), Sartre (the ontology of absolute freedom and radical responsibility), Merleau-Ponty (on the phenomenology of bodily perception), Gadamer (on philosophical hermeneutics) and Levinas (on questioning the primacy of ontology in phenomenology and western philosophy as a whole).
  • Teaching methods: Lectures and tutorials
  • Teaching materials: see Canvas
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week.
  • Self study: 20 hours per week

Module 3: Research in Philosophy: Scenario's voor verleden en toekomst

  • EC: 7,5
  • Content: De toekomst bestaat uit gebeurtenissen die nog plaats moeten vinden. Tot die gebeurtenissen hebben we geen rechtstreekse toegang. Als we ons de toekomst willen voorstellen dan doen we dat door middel van de interpretatie van feiten die we thans tot onze beschikking hebben. Futorologen hebben vaak geprobeerd om op basis van hun interpretatie van huidige trends, de toekomst te voorspellen. Maar door nieuwe inzichten over het complexe, chaotische en niet-lineaire karakter van veel processen is de mogelijkheid van voorspellingen onder steeds grotere druk komen te staan. Een alternatieve futorologische benadering is het gebruik van scenario’s in plaats van voorspellingen. Als we vruchtbaar willen nadenken over de toekomst, dan moeten dat niet doen door middel van het doortrekken van eendimensionale lijnen, maar door middel van scenario’s waarmee we een toekomstig tijd-ruimte continuüm verkennen.
    Teaching methods: Colleges en onderlinge opdrachten
  • Teaching materials: see Canvas
  • Contact hours: 4 hours per week.
  • Self study: 17 hours per week


Method of examination

Module 1: Students write 2 position papers in the form of critical reading responses of 1,500 words each (2x40%) and give one presentation (20%).

Module 2: Combination of Tests (100%): Speculative research statement, physical model and presentation.
Module 3: Combination of Tests (100%): Presentation and peer feedback

Module 4, 5, 6 and 7: see courses.eur.nl.

Composition of final grade

Part A, module 1 needs to be completed with a 5,5 or higher.
Module 2 and 3 will be completed with a pass/fail.

Part B, all courses need to be completed with a 5,5 or higher.

The end result of the minor will be a pass/fail.

Examinations will be reviewed together with the teacher of the specific module.

Contact information

Email: studyadvisor@esphil.eur.nl




Minor code
10 weeks
Erasmus School of Philosophy
Study points (EC)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein

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