Contemporary Continental Philosophy

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Course Number
PHIL 5955 640
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Course Description
This seminar course is an introduction to 20th-century continental European philosophy, focusing on the origins and development of phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and deconstruction.  The centrality of phenomenology to an understanding of these movements and other contemporary trends in European thought will be emphasized throughout.  No previous background in philosophy is required.   We will begin the semester with an introduction to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl.  This will be followed by an examination of three existentialist critics of Husserl, whose philosophies have influenced much of recent continental thought: Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.  Finally, we will examine the important influence of phenomenology and existentialism on contemporary trends in continental philosophy as exhibited in works by Hannah Arendt, Hans Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, and Jacques Derrida.
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