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Expanded Course Description
The course begins with a consideration of the historical origins of existential thought in the writings of Kierkegaard and then continues with readings from existential thinkers of the twentieth Century, from Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger and Gabriel Marcel to Albert Camus, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. We will have occasion to discuss the pervasive presence of existential themes in contemporary literature and film. We consider the existential criticism of the rationalist philosophy and scientism as these dominate the modern era.
The course continually concerns itself with the basic experiences taken up within existential writings: anxiety, the absurd, hope, freedom, mortality, presence, love.