In the more than two hundred years since Kant, continental philosophy has taken many different directions, answering very different questions with divergent concepts and presuppositions. This makes it difficult to cover in a single course. In this course, we will deal with continental philosophy’s existentialist themes and some metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. The central authors we will read includes Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. Class format is a mixture of interactive lecture and discussion.
By the end of the course, students who have done the required work will have become familiar with some central problems and authors in Continental European philosophy since Kant, in particular with regard to existentialist thought, will have become better able to discern and evaluate arguments in (older) philosophical texts and will have developed their argumentation and writing skills to articulate their own position on key questions presented in the course.
Students are required to attend classes and to do the reading prior to class. They are strongly encouraged to participate in discussion. Also required: For all students (except auditors): one, ungraded 15-minute in-class oral presentation and the core essay exam at the end of the semester. Participation counts for 10%.