Continental Philosophy, in the 200-plus years since Kant, has taken very different directions, answering divergent questions in divergent vocabularies, making it difficult to cover it well in a single course. My idea here is to limit the course to tracing continental philosophy’s existentialist themes. Existentialism can be seen as an attempt to give an account of what is distinctively human but not along lines centered on our ability to think and be rational. Existential themes are those aspects of human existence that present a distinctive challengeto us beyond immediate material needs. The central authors read include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Camus. One question in the background will be whether and in what form existentialism, apart from its origins and historically specific pathos, can be a systematic philosophical problem area today.
The desired outcome is to realize the goals of the course.
Goals of the course: To gain an overview of Continental European philosophy since Kant, in particular with regard to its existentialist strands. To become a better of reader of older philosophical texts. To become more effective at critically such material.
Students are required to attend classes and finish the reading prior to class. They are strongly encouraged to participate in discussion. Also required:
For all students, one 5-minute in-class presentation.
For 2-year Philosophy MAs, end-of-year core essay exam.
For non 2-year Philosophy Mas, one 2000-word term paper.
Most important criteria in grading term papers: clarity, originality, depth and coherence.
no pre-requisites or co-requisites; course level: MA (core course)