Contemporary European Philosophy (PHIL*3200)
Term: Fall 2014
The European philosophical tradition in the 20th century is diverse in ideas, problems, and methodologies. This course will provide a survey of the tradition by focusing on how a number of philosophers have conceived “the world.” The world at once forms the condition of our experience, action, and our systems of meanings. Yet at the same time the world is significantly altered by the systems of knowledge through which we conceive the world itself, as well as the political and economic processes that mold it to, and often times against, our human ends. We will focus on the relation between metaphysical and political accounts of the world. This relation entails the corresponding questions of being, subjectivity, time, knowledge, and history. We will read selections from the phenomenological movement in the work of Martin Heidegger that seeks to establish the fundamental relationship between human subjectivity and its worldly and temporal context. We will then turn to a number of thinkers in French post-structuralism (Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault). In their attempt to shift the focus away from the human subject, these texts push us to think the structures of the world differently. In the final part of the course, we will examine a number of
critical theorists (Cixous, Adorno and Horkheimer, and Fanon) that challenge the gendered, racial, and political ways in which the world has been framed.
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