PHIL 466 - Topics in Continental Philosophy
Section: 001 Existentialism
Term: WN 2012
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
For Winter '12 ONLY, this course will fulfill the 400-level ethics course requirement for Moral & Political Philosophy minors.
Advisory Prerequisites:
One of PHIL 371, 375, 385, or 389 or permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

We will explore excerpts from texts by Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger. Additional reading will probably include the work of Nietzsche and Buber, as well as more recent philosophers writing about values, the meaning of life, and human freedom. Among the questions central to our discussion will be:

  • What is it to be human?
  • What burdens come with the capacity to ask this question?
  • What special vulnerabilities?
  • What is the relationship between our responsibility for our choices and the fact that we can reflect on (and distance ourselves from) ourselves?
  • To what extent are we responsible for the significance we attribute to our choices?

Existentialists try to answer these questions with such opaque claims as "Existence precedes essence" and "I am not what I am, and I am what I am not." What are they trying to get at with these claims? Students will be expected to read very difficult texts very carefully.

Course Requirements:

Grades will be assigned on the basis of class participation and papers.

Intended Audience:

Students with some experience in upper-level Philosophy courses.

Class Format:

3 hrs of lecture per week

PHIL 466 - Topics in Continental Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0806522763
Being And Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology, Author: Jean-Paul Sartre (trans H. Barnes), Publisher: Citadel 2001
ISBN: 0691089450
Authority and estrangement : an essay on self-knowledge, Author: Richard Moran., Publisher: Princeton University Press 2001
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