Existentialism (PHIL*2170) | College of Arts

Existentialism (PHIL*2170)

Code and section: PHIL*2170*01

Term: Fall 2019

Instructor: John Russon


In the 19th and 20th Centuries, a tradition of philosophy grew up in Europe that emphasized the creative role people play in determining the terms in which their lives are meaningful.  Their works ranged from provocative discussions of the importance of taking responsibility for one's life choices to rigorous and complicated analyses of the mechanisms by which any experience--from simple sensation to romantic life to political involvement--functions.  We will study writings from Sartre, Heidegger and other figures, supplemented by reflection on various works of literature and visual art.  We will investigate such themes as the relation between lived experience and self-conscious reflection, the relation between choice and commitment, the status of morality, forms of oppression, and the nature and role of artistic expression in human life.  In all of our studies, we will be especially interested in the nature of the past and future in the context of freedom.


"Course Outline"

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.