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GED2102 Existentialism: Home

Course Description

This course will address these questions, among others, through the reading of philosophical and literary texts that belong to the “existentialist” movement. Focusing on themes of the individual, freedom, authenticity, and self-other relations, this course will cover major philosophers in 19th and 20th century western Philosophy including Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Buber, and de Beauvoir.

Recommended Books

The Outsider

In Part One, Meursault, an indifferent French Algerian, first went to his mother’s funeral, then encountered Marie who soon became his girlfriend. They, together with their friends, went to the beach in French Algiers for vacation, where Meursault ended up shooting an Arab man to death. In Part Two, Meursault was arrested and put into prison. At the trial, the prosecuting attorney portrays Meursault's quietness and passivity as demonstrating guilt and a lack of remorse, and he was sentenced to death. While waiting during his appeal, he encountered a chaplain but he refused to turn to God. The novel is centered on the notion of absurdity of life.

Basic Writings: from Being and Time (1927) to the Task of Thinking (1964)

This book offers a selection from the writings of Martin Heidegger: 8 complete essays, 2 uncut excerpts from larger works, and 1 abridged piece. These selections cover all periods of Heidegger’s philosophical thoughts, mainly in chronological order of composition. Heidegger was a German philosopher, mainly active in the 20th century and widely acknowledged as the representative philosopher of existentialism. His major philosophical contribution is his interpretation of the notion of Being. Heidegger also makes critical contributions to the philosophical conception of truth. In this book, you can find selections addressing these philosophical questions, such as “Being and Time: Introduction” and “On the Essence of Truth”.

The Essential Kierkegaard

This is an anthology of Søren Kierkegaard's works assembled in English. The anthology begins with Kierkegaard's early journal entries, and traces the development of his work chronologically with an entire selection of 31 writings, all from Kiekegaard’s Writings edited by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and a major influence on existentialism in the 20th century. He was renowned for his emphasis on individual existence—particularly religious existence—as a constant process of becoming and for his invocation of the associated concepts of authenticity, commitment, responsibility, anxiety, and dread.

The Essential Kierkegaard (E-book)

This is an anthology of Søren Kierkegaard's works assembled in English. The anthology begins with Kierkegaard's early journal entries, and traces the development of his work chronologically with an entire selection of 31 writings, all from Kiekegaard’s Writings edited by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and a major influence on existentialism in the 20th century. He was renowned for his emphasis on individual existence—particularly religious existence—as a constant process of becoming and for his invocation of the associated concepts of authenticity, commitment, responsibility, anxiety, and dread.

Basic Writings of Nietzsche

This book collects Frederick Nietzsche’s major works, including 5 complete works-The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo- and 75 aphorisms from his aphoristic books, as well as selections from his correspondence about The Case of Wagner, and variants from Nietzsche’s drafts for Ecce Homo. Nietzsche was a German philosopher active in the 19th century. He gives a large role to the will to power and he proposes to replace the values he attacks -Socrates, scholarship, God, truth, morality, equality, democracy and most other modern values- with new values and a new ideal of the human person.

Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

This book is an essay in as well as on existentialism. The book is divided into four parts. Part one examines the contemporary context in which existentialism appears as a new and formidable philosophical force. Part two is concerned with ancient, medieval and classical modem sources and anticipations of existentialism. Part three consists of chapters devoted to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre respectively. Part four is concerned with "Integral vs. Rational Man." Appended to the work are two short pieces. The first treats the negative as revealing human finitude. The second returns to the existential proposition.

Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction

Generally, the term existentialism refers to a number of thinkers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who made the concrete individual central to their thought. This book exactly focuses on the leading figures of existentialism, including Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Camus. In this book, Flynn explains the key themes of individuality, free will, and personal responsibility, which marked the movement as a way of life, not just a way of thinking. At the end of the book, Flynn discusses the continued relevance of existentialist philosophy in our day.

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