Continental Philosophy: Hegel to Sartre (PHIL 390/001)

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Instructor: James Lesher. This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. in Caldwell 208. Course prerequisite: Philosophy major or permission of instructor.

The continental tradition in philosophy consists of the ideas and theories developed by European (mainly French and German) thinkers during the 19th and 20th centuries. Among its main movements are idealism, phenomenology, Marxism, critical theory, hermeneutics, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and ‘French literary theory’. This course will be devoted to the study of a dozen thinkers within the idealist and existentialist traditions. The goal of the course is to become familiar with some of the main themes in continental thought, to understand how earlier views helped to shape later ones, and to appreciate both the more admirable and the more deplorable aspects of philosophizing in the continental manner.

Required Texts:Brian O’Connor and George Mohr, German Idealism (University of Chicago, Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-226-61673-5

Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity (Create Space), ISBN-13: 978-1456569419

Karl Marx, Selected Writings, L. Simon, ed. (Hackett) ISBN-13: 978-0872202184

Friedrich Nietzsche, Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library). ISBN-13: 978-0679783398.

Walter Kaufman, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (Penguin Publishing, 1956)  ISBN 978-0-452-00930-1


Grading measures:

There will be one in-class exam, one class presentation (of 8 to 10 pages), and the final exam.

James Lesher’s webpage