CONTENT: This course surveys major cultural developments during a dynamic period of war and revolution and the emergence of the modern nation state. During this time artists and intellectuals responded to the subversion of a series of narratives that held the word together--narratives about courtship, family, nation, empire, religion, liberalism, and knowledge. We will begin with a brief background on ancient philosophy, the scientific revolution, and the philosophy of the enlightenment; then concentrate on romanticism (Hegel and Mary Shelley), realism (Flaubert and Dostoevsky), Darwin, Marx, utilitarianism (Mill), naturalism (Zola); and finally conclude with Nietzsche’s provocative critiques of Christianity, egalitarianism, democracy, socialism, Darwinism, and utilitarianism as well as his positive philosophy of the superman.
ASSIGNMENTS: Class discussions will involve close readings of the texts, and for that reason students should buy the same assigned edition so they will be able to follow these discussions. Students will write three papers (6-7 pages) on assigned topics based on the readings and class discussions.
E. D. Hirsch, “Romanticism and Developmentalism,” in The Schools We Need
Auguste Comte, “The Nature and Importance of Positive Philosophy”
Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species, "Recapitulation and Conclusion"; The Descent of Man, “Introduction,” “Summary and Conclusion”
Schedule of Classes WEEK 1 Sept. 24: The Judeo-Christian Foundations of Western culture
Sept. 26: Ancient Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle
WEEK 2 Sept. 29: The Scientific Revolution: Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Locke
Oct. 1: The Enlightenment
Oct. 3: Romanticism
WEEK 3 Oct. 6: Romanticism continued. Discussion of Hirsch, “Romanticism and Developmentalism”
Oct. 8: Classical and Romantic Art–Slide Lecture
Oct. 10: Discuss Frankenstein, Chs. 1-11.
WEEK 4 Oct. 13 Discuss Frankenstein, Chs. 12-24
Oct. 15: Writing Workshop. Read Hacker on Clarity
Oct. 17: Writing Workshop. Read Hacker on Grammar and Punctuation.
WEEK 5 Oct. 20: FIRST PAPER DUE. Wagner and Romanticism (audio lecture).
Oct. 22: Auguste Comte and Positivism. Recommended reading, Comte, “The Nature and Importance of Positive Philosophy.”
Oct. 24: Darwin
WEEK 6 Oct. 27: RETURN AND DISCUSS PAPERS. Lecture on Darwinism
Oct. 29: Darwinism. Discuss On the Origin of Species, “Recapitulation and Conclusion; The Descent of Man, “Introduction, Summary and Conclusion.”
Oct. 31: Marx. Discuss The Communist Manifesto WEEK 7 Nov. 3: Realism and Naturalism
Nov. 5: Realist, Impressionist, and Pre-Raphaelist Art (slide lecture)
Nov. 7: Discuss Flaubert, “A Simple Heart”
WEEK 8 Nov. 10: Moral Philosophy of Kant and Mill (Deontology and Utilitarianism)
Nov. 12: Dostoevsky, Discuss Notes From the Underground Nov. 14: Discuss both paper topics (Darwin and Marx; Flaubert and Dostoevsky)
WEEK 9 Nov. 17: SECOND PAPER DUE. Origins of Existentialism. Kierkegaard
Nov. 19: Nietzsche: Targets of the Critical Philosophy
Nov. 21: Discuss Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue
WEEK 10 Nov. 24: Zarathustra, Part I (esp. 25-35, 40-1, 46-54, 58-67, 69-71, 78-9)
Nov. 26: Zarathustra, Part II (esp. 90-102, 113-119, 124-126, 137-142, 145-147)
Nov. 28: THANKSGIVING
WEEK 11 Dec. 1: Zarathustra, Part III (esp. 152-178, 198, 203-04, 215-231.
Dec. 3: Nietzsche
Dec. 5: Concluding Discussion for Final Paper.