Course syllabus





Edmund Husserl for PIFALThe Twentieth Century was a period of enormous philosophical creativity. In this course we focus on two waves of new philosophical thought that originated in Germany and France in the early Twentieth Century and gradually spread throughout the world. The phenomenological movement, initiated by Edmund Husserl, brought fresh insight into age-old philosophical topics such as the nature of consciousness, time and reality. Then, after World War II, a renewed focus on the role of language and dialogue inspired a further revolution in philosophical thought, a style of thinking called hermeneutics. In this course we examine the work of key thinkers from these two intellectual movements, among others. These include Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de BeauvoirEmmanuel Lévinas, Hannah ArendtHans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Lacan.

Participants in this course will develop an understanding of the core ideas of each of these thinkers and of the unique contribution each has made to intellectual life in the modern world.     

Course objectives

  • Provide a broad survey of the history of philosophy in the twentieth century, with a focus on the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions
  • Introduce students to some leading philosophers of the twentieth century who have been widely influential in the humanities and social sciences
  • Develop students’ skills in reading, interpreting and critically assessing philosophical texts
  • Enhance students’ capabilities in scholarly analysis, interpretation of evidence and presentation of reasoned arguments

Well-being always comes first

We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

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Weekly Topics

Week 1: Introduction

Part I: Subjectivity

Week 2: Consciousness
Week 3: Being-in-the-world
Week 4: Embodiment

Part II: Intersubjectivity

Week 5: Sexual difference
Week 6: Alterity 
Week 7: Plurality

Part III: Language and Reason

Week 8: Language
Week 9: Narrative identity 
Week 10: Communication

Week 11: The split subject


Course summary:

Date Details