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PHIL 225
Existentialism Fall 2020
Division II

Class Details

We will study the philosophical and literary works of Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus. What makes these thinkers “Existentialists”? It’s not merely that they ask the question, “What gives meaning to a human life?” And, it’s not merely that their answers invoke our freedom to determine our own identities. More than this, Existentialists emphasize the subjective relation we bear to our belief systems, moral codes, and personal identities. Existentialists investigate irrational phenomena of human life, including anxiety, boredom, tragedy, despair, meaning, death, faith, sexuality, love, hate, sadism, masochism, and authenticity. And, Existentialists express their thought in philosophical treatises as often as in literary works. In this course we will attempt to understand the dimensions in which Existentialism is a distinctive intellectual tradition.
The Class: Format: tutorial; This course will implement the tutorial format and be conducted remotely. Each week, students will watch a pre-recorded lecture given by the professor (asynchronously), and meet in pairs or trios with the professor for roughly 75 minutes via Zoom (synchronously).
Limit: 18
Expected: 18
Class#: 2535
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Each week, students will complete the assigned readings, watch a pre-recorded lecture by the professor, write an essay, and meet in pairs or trios with the professor. Students will take turns as the leader one week, and the respondent the next. The week's leader will write a 5- to 6-page essay on the assigned reading, due 48 hours before the meeting. The week's respondent will write a 2-page essay on the leader's essay due at the time of the meeting. At the meetings, both students will present their essays and hold a discussion. Students will be evaluated cumulatively on their essays and contributions to discussion.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: preference to Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II

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