PHIL 285 -- Consciousness and Intentionality
in German Idealism
Winter 2015

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

Instructor:  tbd
   office:   tbd
   hours:   tbd
   email:   tbd


Time:        Tues 4:00pm--6:50pm
Location:  Philosophy Seminar Room (7th fl, HSS 7077) [map]

Required textbooks

{all required texts will be made available electronically}

Recommended textbooks

Karl Ameriks, ed. Cambridge Companion to German Idealism (Cambridge)
Terry Pinkard, German Philosophy 1760-1860 (Cambridge)
Robert Pippin, Hegel's Idealism (Cambridge)

Course description

In this course we will focus on the accounts of intentionality and consciousness that emerge in the writings of those working in the post-Kantian tradition known as German Idealism.  We will read key primary texts by Reinhold, Fichte, Schelling, Hoelderlin, Novalis, and Hegel, and discuss recent influential work on these figures and topics by people like Karl Ameriks, Frederick Beiser, Robert Brandom, Jane Kneller, Charles Larmore, John McDowell, Dalia Nassar, Terry Pinkard, Robert Pippin, Sally Sedgwick, and Slavoj Zizek.

Topics to be covered will include:
 * the nature of the relationship between 'being [Sein]' and 'consciousness [Bewusst-sein; being-conscious]';
* the place of consciousness in subjectivity;
* the relation between consciousness and representationality;
* the different forms of consciousness and their inter-relations (sensory, imaginative, intellectual, theoretical, practical, aesthetic, religious);
* the question of whether consciousness is, or always involves, self-consciousness;
* the extent to which consciousness is itself an activity;
* the role of consciousness in agency, freedom, and responsibility;
* the possibility that consciousness is already, or could become, absolute or unconditioned.

Course requirements

* attendance
* weekly brief (~3min) presentations in opening discussion
* weekly brief (~2pp) written responses to primary texts
* medium-length (~3000 word) final essay: critical engagement with secondary literature

Schedule of topics

* week 1: Reinhold
* weeks 2-3: Fichte
* weeks 4: Hoelderlin and Novalis
* weeks 5-6: Schelling
* weeks 7-10: Hegel

Satisfaction of grad program distribution requirements

This course can satisfy the history of philosophy requirement and the philosophy of mind/language requirement.  If you'd like to satisfy a different requirement, please contact me directly.

Reference links

{coming soon}

Course URL

last updated: Dec 18th, 2014