PHIL 3240-001 Fall Semester 2007
M W F 10:00 – 10:50 Scott Hall 135
Nita de Oliveira, Ph.D. Office: Scott Hall 3012
Phone: 419-530-4517 Office Hours: MWF 11-12:00
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org F 3:00 - 5:00 or by appointment
Personal Website: http://www.oocities.com/nythamar/nita.html
PHIL - 3240 EXISTENTIALISM
[3 hours] A study of existential philosophers, including Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Jaspers, Heidegger and others. Topics may include anxiety, meaning and meaninglessness, freedom, and human sociability. Besides introducing to existentialist interpretations of key concepts such as existence, dread, Angst, boredom, alienation, absurdity, meaning, freedom, self, choice, decision, guilt, commitment, engagement, facticity, thrownness, and nothingness, the course will particularly focus on the Heidegger-Sartre controversy over the contention that “existence precedes essence.”
Dostoevsky to Sartre. Edited, with an introd., prefaces, and new
Martin, Sein und Zeit
. English Trans.: Being and time. Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson.
Jean-Paul. L’Être et le néant: essai d'ontologie
English Trans.: Being and nothingness: an
essay in phenomenological ontology. Translated with an
introduction by Hazel E. Barnes.
Reserved Materials / Library:
Estella. Existentialist ethics.
Warnock, Mary. Existentialism.
Edward. Existentialism: a reconstruction.
Basic writings: From Being and time (1927) to The task of
thinking (1964). Edited, with general introd.
and introductions to each selection by David Farrell Krell.
Jaspers, Karl. Existentialism and humanism,
three essays. Edited by Hanns
E. Fischer, translated from the original German by E. B. Ashton.
Koenig, Thomas. Existentialism and human existence: an
account of five major philosophers.
Litch, Mary M., Philosophy through film.
S. (ed). The existentialist reader: An anthology of
Pojman, Louis P. Editor. Philosophy:
The quest for truth.
Raymond, Diane Barsoum
(ed.). Existentialism and the philosophical tradition.
Jean-Paul. Existentialism and human
______. Existentialism and humanism.
Translation and introd. by Philip Mairet.
______. L'existentialisme est
______. Search for a method. Translated
from the French and with an introd. by Hazel E. Barnes.
______. L'être et le néant, essai d'ontologie phénoménologique. Paris, Gallimard, 1949.
Tillich, Paul. The courage to be
[electronic resource]. With an introduction by Peter
Grades are based on point accumulation throughout the semester. There are 6 Homeworks worth 5 points each and 2 Midterm Essays worth 15 points each. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED, unless they are accompanied by evidence of a medical emergency (e.g., signed doctor’s note) or death in the family (e.g., funeral program). Make-up exams will be given only to those students who inform me of their emergency by email on the day of the exam. The cumulative final exam is worth 40 points, so as to make up 100 points:
30 points – Homework
30 points – Midterm Essays
40 points – Final Exam
100 total points
Final grades for the course are based on the following scale:
93-100 pts. = A 77-79 pts. = C+
90-92 pts. = A- 73-76 pts. = C
87-89 pts. = B+ 70-72 pts. = C-
83-86 pts. = B 60-69 pts. = D
80-82 pts. = B- 59 and below = F
Neither plagiarism (i.e., presenting
the written work of another as one’s own) nor cheating (i.e., providing answers
to exam questions or receiving exam answers from another) will be tolerated.
Any academic dishonesty will be disciplined according to the guidelines in the
If you need special accommodations to attend my class, please notify me immediately. Your need for special accommodations, including special testing requests, will need to be documented by the Office of Accessibility, located at 1400 Snyder Memorial.
Make sure to prepare all the readings before the date given. The reading assignments are usually short and hopefully pleasant. Homework is turned in at the beginning of class on the day it’s due. In-class practice exams will be given on Review days.
Philosophy Dept - UT
August 20: Introduction: What is (or rather was) Existentialism ?
22: Kaufmann Chap. 1: Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (I-IV)
24: Kaufmann Chap. 1: Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (V-VII)
27: Kaufmann Chap. 3: Kierkegaard 1-3 (revised ed.)
29: Kaufmann Chap. 3: Kierkegaard 4-5
31: Kaufmann Chap. 3: Kierkegaard 6-7
September 3: Labor Day – No Class
5: Kaufmann Chap. 11: Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
#1 & Review
For the Homework # 3, due on Oct. 12, you can write a 1-2 page essay trying to address the question: "What is metaphysics?" You might want to relate this question to Heidegger's contention that Western philosophy has forgotten the question of Being, and how one can relate ontology to metaphysics in light of the ontic-ontological difference (the difference between Being and beings). You can use the texts you read and material available on the internet, but make sure you cite your sources properly.
For the Homework # 4, due on Oct. 26, you can write a 1-2 page essay on any topic related to your readings of Heidegger, as long as you do not repeat yourself. For instance, you may write a short paper on Heidegger's existential analysis, Dasein, phenomenology, hermeneutics, humanism, ethics, language, self-understanding and/or freedom. You can use the texts you read and material available on the internet, but make sure you cite your sources properly.
For the Midterm Essay #2, due on Oct. 29, you may choose one topic related to one of the texts you read or to one of the authors previously discussed, and write a 2-3 page philosophical essay in which you will try to argue for or against one particular position in existentialism (e.g., Heidegger's view of subjectivity and/or existence as opposed to, say, Kierkegaard's or Nietzsche's). This is a take-home exam, but if you prefer to write your essay in the classroom, you may use our class time for this (I'll be here anyway).
You might want to take a look at Jeff McLaughlin, How to Write a Philosophy Paper and/or P. Bokulich, Paper Writing Hints. If you don't have the Kaufmann revised ed., read the selections for each philosopher from another version or edition, such as the texts available online.
For the Homework # 5, due on Nov. 16, you can write a 1-2 page essay trying to address the question: "What is existentialism?" in light of Sartre’s writings (e.g., in Kaufmann’s book), esp. “Existentialism is a Humanism.” You can use the texts you read and material available on the internet, but make sure you cite your sources properly.
For the Homework # 6, due on Dec. 7, you can write a 1-2 page essay on any topic related to your readings of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, and try to avoid repeating yourself. For instance, you may write a short paper on Sartre’s conception of phenomenology, humanism, consciousness, en soi / pour soi, and/or freedom. You can use the texts you read and material available on the internet, but make sure you cite your sources properly. If you prefer, you may as well turn in both homeworks as one single 2-4 page paper on Dec. 7 (you may leave your paper in my office or with the Philosophy Dept secretary, Mrs. Linda Smith).
For the FINAL EXAM on Dec. 12, be prepared to write an in-class essay (2-3 pages) on one of the following topics:
Kierkegaard’s existential conception of subjectivity
Nietzsche’s existential conception of the will to power
Jaspers’s existential conception of transcendence
Heidegger's existential analysis of Dasein
You might want to relate the views of one author to another, as long as you thematize their differences and respective conceptions, such as existence, dread, meaning, freedom, self, choice, decision, commitment, facticity, and nothingness.
10: Kaufmann Chap. 4: Nietzsche 1
12: Kaufmann Chap. 4: Nietzsche 2-3
14: Kaufmann Chap. 4: Nietzsche 4-5
17: Kaufmann Chap. 8: Jaspers 1
19: Kaufmann Chap. 8: Jaspers 2-3
21: Homework #2 & Review
24: Midterm Essay #1
26: Kaufmann Chap. 9: Heidegger 1-2 and/or 3
October 1: Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction sections 3-4
3: Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction sections 5-6
5: Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction sections 7-8
8: Heidegger, Being and Time, sections 9-11
10: Heidegger, Being and Time, sections 12-13
12: Homework #3 & Review
15: Fall Break -- No Class
17: Heidegger, Being and Time, sections 28-29
19: Heidegger, Being and Time, sections 30-32
22: Heidegger, Letter on Humanism (1)
24: Heidegger, Letter on Humanism (2)
26: Homework #4 & Review
29: Midterm Essay #2
31: Kaufmann Chap. 10: Sartre 1 and/or 5
November 2: Kaufmann Chap. 10: Sartre 2
5: Kaufmann Chap. 10: Sartre 3
7: Kaufmann Chap. 10: Sartre 4: Existentialism is a Humanism
9: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Introduction, I-III
12: Veteran’s Day -- No Class
14: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Introduction, IV-VI
16: Homework #5& Review
19: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part I, ch. 1, I-III
21-23: Thanksgiving Break -- No Class
28: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part I, ch. 2
30: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part II, ch. 1, I-II
December 3: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part III, ch. 1, I-II
5: Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part III, ch. 1, III / Review
7: Homework #6 (no class)
December 12: FINAL EXAM Wednesday 10:15-12:15