Continental Philosophy

Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status

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Course Description: 

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 in a single course. I want to focus on tracing continental philosophy’s existentialist themes. Existentialism is a philosophical account of what is distinctively human, not necessarily centered on our rationality. It explores those aspects of human existence that present a distinctive challenge to us beyond our immediate material needs. The central authors we read include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Camus. Aside from its history, can and should be a systematic philosophical problem area today?

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, participants should have gained 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 engaging with 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 to 10-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