PHIL141/ENG121 Existentialism & Phenomenology

Year offered

This topics course focused on existentialism and phenomenology introduces thinkers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as Dostoevsky, Ellison and de Unamuno, and traces how those thinkers (as well as their influences) and developments challenged and impacted the western intellectual tradition across the twentieth century. Added pressure will be placed on the writings and lifeworld of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the 19th-century Danish thinker, and how his ideas traveled globally. We pay close attention to the shifts in categories, method and concepts for the articulation of consciousness that expands and troubles reason-centered approaches, and also examine how existentialists and phenomenologists (we will carefully examine these terms) have handled their own discontents, crises, and moral and ethical dilemmas. Discussion of philosophical texts will almost always be accompanied by references to films, novels, stories, and other materials that demonstrate how the relationship between philosophy and literature deepen our understanding of existentialism and phenomenology.