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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Spring 2008

R S 356E • Existentialism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44535 TTh
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
pai 3.02
ras 313a

Course Description

Philosophy is often described as the enterprise of reason and rationality. Those philosophers who have been called “existentialists,” by contrast, have been characterized (and sometimes have characterized themselves) as suspicious of reason, as champions of passionate engagement, even as “irrationalists.” This would include --with many variations and qualifications-- Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche in the last century and Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre in this century. This course will be a study of existentialism and emotions, in particular, the notion that emotions give meaning to life and that our emotions are, in some important sense, our own responsibility, even our own “choices.” We will read selections from both the philosophical and literary works of the existentialists. We will also read works on the nature of emotions in phenomenology and analytic philosophy, biology, social psychology and anthropology.

Grading Policy

Class participation (including a daily journal) - 25%
Three exams - 25% each


Camus: The Stranger (Random House/ Vintage), The Fall (Random House/ Vintage)

Sartre: Being and Nothingness (Citadel), Transcendence of the Ego in P&E (below), The Emotions (excerpts, handout)

Solomon, ed. Existentialism [E'm] (Modern Library)

Solomon, ed. Dark Feelings, Grim Thoughts: Experience and Reflection in Camus and Sartre [DFGT] (Oxford university press)

Solomon, ed. Phenomenology and Existentialism [P & E] (Rowman and Littlefield)


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