PHIL 3543: Existentialism


Despite their differences, the various philosophical and literary figures of the 19th and 20th centuries who are typically designated "existentialists" are bound together by a common problematic: freedom. In this course, we will trace the development of existentialism from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Sartre and Heidegger by focusing upon each thinker's approach to this problematic. We will focus particular attention upon such key notions as "anxiety", "bad-faith", "individuality" and "authenticity". Moreover, in considering each thinker's interpretation of radical freedom, we will also pose the critical question: how much and what type of responsibility does such freedom allow?

Though more class-time will be devoted to lecture than to discussion, the latter will play an essential role in the course. Students will be expected to bring their texts to class and actively participate in discussion. Each week I will hand out reflection questions which will: a) help guide students' readings for the following week and b) function as a spring-board for in-class discussion.

Three credit hours.

Courses Regularly Taught:

Dr. James Gilbert-Walsh
PHIL 1013/1023: Introduction to Western Philosophy (1 and 2)
PHIL 2523: Introduction to Aesthetics
PHIL 3613: Kant
PHIL 3623: Hegel
PHIL 3543: Existentialism
PHIL 3653: Contemporary Continental Philosophy
PHIL 3763 Heidegger

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