PHIL 120 Spring 2014 Existentialism: An Introduction (W)

Existentialism is considered to be one of the 20th century's most important philosophical movements, with key figures such as Sartre, Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty. In the aftermath of Nietzsche's famous claim that God is dead, together with the sensation of a loss of a foundation for human and moral values after the two world wars, existentialism seeks to examine the philosophical and ethical conditions for human existence that can no longer take transcendent foundations for granted. What becomes of moral responsibility, if no moral values are absolutely given? What is freedom, if no longer granted by divine or human essence? How can meaning be created, and on what grounds, if no higher meaning is given anymore? In this course, we will explore a number of existentialist questions and themes, such as meaning, nihilism, humanism, the absurd and anguish, but also hope, ethics and intersubjectivity through various texts by such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir, Heidegger and Arendt, and also through literature and films inspired by or inspiring for the existentialist movement: Beckett, Kafka, Dostoievski and Bergman among others.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: each week, you will write a 1-2 page paper corresponding to the reading assignment; in addition to that, you will write a 5-6 page paper on assigned topics for mid-term and for finals; active participation in class discussions is required
Additional Info:
Additional Info2: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first year students and sophomores
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 15-19
Class Number: 4030
PHIL120-01(S) SEM Existentialism: An Intro. (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Fredrika I. Spindler
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM Greylock C 4030
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