PHIL 181 -- Existentialism
Fall 2015

Professor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8018
   hours:   tbd
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   tbd
   hours:   tbd
   email:   tbd


Time:        Tu/Th 12:30-1:50pm
Location:  Warren Lecture Hall (WLH) 2209 [map]

Required textbooks

{required textbooks: tba}
{a reader will also be made available on the course's TED page}

Course description

This course will serve as an introduction to the basic themes and texts of existentialism as a philosophical movement, the core of which emerged and developed from roughly 1850-1960.  We will discuss topics such as the distinction between essence and existence; the nature of human being, human existence, and human action; the relation between reason, existence, and freedom; the idea of 'the death of God'; the meaning of life; the absurd; being with others, being an other to one's own self.  We will read a variety of authors, most likely including: Blaise Pascal, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone De Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, Marjorie Grene, Frantz Fanon, Iris Murdoch.  Some of the readings will most likely be fiction (novels, plays, poetry).  Throughout the term we will also talk about how these themes show up in art from the period.

Course requirements

* weekly reading/lecture questionnaires
* weekly discussion posts
* final paper
* attendance
* participation

Schedule of readings


Reference links

online encyclopedia entries (Stanford Enc unless otherwise noted)

Blaise Pascal
Soren Kierkegaard
Friedrich Nietzsche
Martin Heidegger
Jean-Paul Sartre
Albert Camus
Simone de Beauvoir
Frantz Fanon (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Hannah Arendt

Course URL

last updated: Nov 20, 2015