Spring 2004 Philosophy 102 Existentialism and European Philosophy tr 1: 00-2: 15 105 Chambers

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Spring 2004

Philosophy 102

Existentialism and European Philosophy

TR 1:00-2:15 105 Chambers

Matthew Jordan

Office: 311 Willard



Office hours by appointment

Course Description

This course will examine a group of highly individualistic writers who have come to be known as existentialists. In some cases, they are as different as they are alike, yet all lay claim to the existential label. We will come to terms with existentialism not as a defined school or formula, but as a historical movement in which ideas, themes and influence can be traced from one writer to another. Among the more dominant themes, we will determine how each thinker deals with the individual in the world, systems of truth, intentionality, being and absurdity, the nature of choice or free will, experience, communication and recognition.


Philosophy 102 is a reading intensive and discussion centered course. Readings must be done on time and attendance is mandatory. Students will be required to post questions once a week relating to the readings or class discussion on the course Angel page. This weekly engagement, both posting and responding, will be evaluated and will correspond to 10 % of the final grade. Class participation will be also gauged and will be worth another 10 % of the final grade. Students will be required to turn in three short papers. The first two essays will be between 5 and 7 pages in length and will be on the student’s choice of assigned topics. Each of the these will be worth 25% of the final grade ( 25 x 2 = 50%). The final paper will be slightly longer, 7 to 10 pages, and will be on a topic of the students choosing. This paper will be worth 30 % of the final grade.

Required Texts

Walter Kaufmann, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre

Albert Camus, The Stranger

Andre Malraux, Man’s Fate

All other readings will be placed on the course Angel page (cms.psu.edu) and on electronic reserve in the library.
Disability Statement:

The Pennsylvania State University encourages individuals with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Students with a disability should talk to the instructor early in the semester so that accommodations can be made accordingly with the ODS.

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic and personal integrity. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, will not be tolerated and students will receive a failing (XF) grade.


T 1/13, Introduction

Th 1/15, Kaufmann, 11-14 & Dostoevsky, “Notes From the Underground,” 52-82
T 1/20 Kaufmann, 14-18 & Soren Kierkegaard, “On His Mission,” “On His Works,” “On His Mode of Existence,” “That Individual,” “Dread and Freedom” (83-105)

Th 1/22 Kierkegaard, “Authority” & “Truth is Subjectivity”

T 1/27 Kaufmann, 19-22 & Friedrich Nietzsche 121-135

Th 1/29 Nietzsche “Zarthustra’s Prologue” (Angel)

T 2/3 Rilke, “The Notes of Malte Laurids Brigge” & “Archaic Torso of Apollo” (Angel)

Th 2/5 Franz Kafka, “Three Parables” 142-152

T 2/10 Franz Kafka, “The Hunger Artist” and “Metamorphosis” (Angel)

Th 2/12 José Ortega Y Gasset “Man has no Nature” & “The Structure of Life, The Substance of History” (Angel) First Paper Due

T 2/17 Kaufmann, 22-33, Karl Jaspers “On My Philosophy”

Th 2/19 Jaspers, “Kierkegaard and Nietzsche” & “The Encompassing”

T 2/24 Kaufmann, 33-40, Martin Heidegger, “My Way to Phenomenology”

Th 2/26 Heidegger, “What is Metaphysics?” & “The Way Back into the Ground of Metaphysics”

T 3/2 Kaufmann, 40-48, Jean-Paul Sartre, “The Wall,”

Th 3/4 Sartre, “Self-Deception”

T 3/16 Sartre, “Portrait of an Anti-Semite” & “Existentialism is a Humanism”

Th 3/18 Sartre, No Exit (Angel)

T 3/23, Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus” (374-8) “Absurd Creation” (Angel) & “The Artist and His Time” (Angel) Second Paper Due

Th 3/25 Albert Camus, The Stranger, pt 1,1-3

T 3/30 Camus, The Stranger, pt 1 4-6, pt 2, 1-2

Th 4/1 Camus, The Stranger finish

T 4/6 Simone de Beauvoir, Selections from Ethics of Ambiguity (Angel)

Th 4/8 Simone de Beauvoir, Selections from America Day by Day (Angel)

T 4/13 Michel Foucault, “Dream, Imagination and Existence” (Angel)

Th 4/15 Ludwig Binswanger, “Dream and Existence” (Angel)

T 4/20 Sartre, “Marxism and Existentialism,” & André Malraux, Man’s Fate, pt 1

Th 4/22 André Malraux, Man’s Fate, pt 2

T 4/27 André Malraux, Man’s Fate pt 3&4

Th 4/29 André Malraux, Man’s Fate Finish Final Paper Due Tuesday May 4

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