Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven

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The Institute of Philosophy is the faculty of philosophy at the University of Leuven which was founded in 1889 by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier with the intent to be a beacon of Neo-Thomist philosophy. Its main buildings are located in the center of Leuven, Belgium at Kardinaal Mercier Square.


The institute was founded in 1889, although Philosophy and Theology have been taught at the University since it was founded in 1425. The institute taught programs in both French and Dutch. After the language split, programs continued in Dutch with little and at times no content taught in French. In 1993 the institute became officially a faculty of philosophy. There are very few universities or colleges that have their own dedicated faculty of philosophy.[1] In 1969 the institute introduced courses in English which has since grown into a full blown program.

Programs offered[edit]

The institute offers both taught and research degrees (B.A., M.A., MPhil and PhD) as well as pre-doc and post-doc programs, both in Dutch and English. Students can take classes in both languages if desired.[2]


  • Cultural Philosophy
  • Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
  • Logic and Analytical Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Modern Philosophy
  • Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • Phenomenology

Husserl-Archives Leuven[edit]

The Institute is well known as the home of the Husserl-Archives, the research center responsible for the publication of the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl.[3] After the death of the founder of the phenomenological movement, fearing for the destruction of his Nachlass at the hands of the Nazis, Father Herman Van Breda (Franciscan), PhD student at the institute, saved Husserl's manuscripts, library and widow and smuggled them to Leuven via diplomatic channels.

Research and publications[edit]

The Institute publishes a Dutch-language philosophy journal, called the Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, and Ethische Perspectieven / Ethical Perspectives. It also organizes several major publication efforts, including the Husserliana (Husserl-Archives) and the Aristoteles Latinus (De Wulf-Mansion centre), the Latin editions of Aristotle's works known to the medieval philosophers.


  • Ranks 24th in the QS World Philosophy Rankings (2014)
  • More than 30 lecturers and professors
  • 80 researchers in 5 departments
  • more than 100 graduate students
  • Circa 750 students (of which 50% international students)

Renowned emeriti[edit]

Guest researchers and lecturers[edit]

Internationally renowned professors who have lectured at the institute:

Notable former students[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]