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Instructor: Pavel Nitchovski. This course meets MTWRF 9:45 – 11:15 a.m. in CW 213.

This is a course aimed at students who are interested in exploring existentialist themes from the perspective of philosophy and (to a lesser extent) literature and film. No previous knowledge of philosophy is required or expected. Some of the topics we’ll focus on:

  1. Our self-awareness of the finitude and limitations of human existence
  2. The (apparent) absurdity or meaninglessness of life
  3. The claim that there is no room for morality without God
  4. The anxieties produced by modernity
  5. The extent and limitations of our freedom to choose our own destiny

The class is broken up into three sections: the first will be on the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the second will be on the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and the third will be on the group of French existentialists Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. We will also watch a couple of movies that explore and reflect the themes of the class.