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This subject is a study of classic texts and major themes in phenomenology and existentialism, a tradition that shaped continental European philosophy throughout much of the 20th century. This subject focuses on central figures in that tradition, such as Sartre, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Husserl. Themes to be discussed include the aims and methods of phenomenology, consciousness and perception, being-in-the world, our relation to others, authenticity, freedom and embodiment. On completion of the subject students should be able to engage in detailed exegesis of philosophical texts and to examine critically the philosophical arguments and views they contain.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- acquire a broad understanding of central themes, concepts and authors in the 20th century philosophical tradition of phenomenology and existentialism, as well as a deeper critical understanding of some issues through independent study and assessments;
- develop the ability to understand critical commentary on the tradition of phenomenology and existentialism and its relevance for contemporary debates within and beyond philosophy;
- appreciate the difficulties of engaging with historically important philosophical works and acquire skills in the careful interpretation and balanced critical evaluation of such works;
- work individually and in groups to interpret philosophical texts, explain clearly and critically evaluate the ideas contained in them.
Last updated: 1 June 2020