Contemporary European Philosophy II (PHIL*6150)
Term: Winter 2015
For the first half of the semester, we will study the work of J.G. Fichte, whose brilliant development of the central ideas of Kant’s philosophy opened up a new philosophical terrain, the rich exploration of which is generally referred to as “German Idealism.” Most definitively, Fichte highlights the crucial and distinctive role other people play in our projects of knowledge and self-knowledge. We will study his Science of Knowledge and Foundations of Natural Right, reflecting on such themes as his philosophical method, the essential experience of being recognized by others and the distinctive character of the human body, concluding with the political philosophy derived from this. In the second half of the semester, we will study Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingess, a founding text of existential phenomenology. Our study of Sartre will especially allow us to further our investigation into the nature and importance of our experience of other people, this time culminating in a study of interpersonal relations rather than political philosophy.
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