Phil 2008 Contemporary Philosophy
Course Title: Contemporary Philosophy
Course Number: Phil. 2008
Credit Hours: Standard Program 3; B. Phil. program 4
Term: Spring 2013
Course prerequisites: Phil. 2004
Class Meeting Time: MWF 9:00-9:50
Instructor: Dr. Terrence Wright
Telephone: (303) 282-3416
E-Mail: terry.wright [at] archden.org
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:00 and by appointment
Course Description: The aim of this course is to introduce the student to several of the major thinkers and ideas from the past two centuries of western philosophy. Topics include German idealism, neo-Thomism, theistic and atheistic existentialism, phenomenology, language theory, personalism and postmodernism. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which these philosophies interact with and are integrated into Catholic philosophy. The course also seeks to develop the student's research and writing skills through the production of an 8-10 page research paper.
1) To be able to coherently articulate the main themes of 19th, 20th and 21st century philosophy.
2) To continue to develop the habits of mind required for philosophical reflection and the skills of textual analysis.
3) To prepare students for further study, particularly in the fields of systematic and moral theology.
4) To develop and deepen an understanding of the ideas that shape contemporary culture.
5) To develop research and writing skills.
Stanley Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co
Required Readings on Reserve in the Library or On Line
Roland Barthes, "From Work to Text"
Nicolas Berdyaev, "The Christian Morality is the Morality of Strength" and "The Bourgeois Mind."
Ludwig Feuerbach, selection from The Essence of Christianity
Hans-Georg Gadamer, selection from Truth and Method
G.W.F. Hegel, selections from Logic and The Phenomenology of Spirit
Martin Heidegger, selection from Being and Time
Edmund Husserl, selection from "Philosophy as Rigorous Science"
Immanuel Kant, selection from Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason
Søren Kierkegaard, selections from The Present Age, Fear and Trembling, Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript
Joseph Koterski, S.J. "Unreliable Tools"
Gerald McCool, S.J., selection from Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century
Jacque Maritain, selection fromFreedom in the Modern World
Emmanuel Mounier, selections from A Personalist Manifesto and Personalism
Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Truth and Falsity in Their Extramoral Sense" and selections from The Birth of Tragedy, On the Genealogy of Morals and Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Pope John Paul II, selection from Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Jean Paul Sartre, "The Humanism of Existentialism"
Edith Stein, selections from Finite and Eternal Being and The Science of the Cross
Ludwig Wittgenstein, selections from the Tractus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations
Teaching Method: Class time will combine lecture and discussion. Active class participation is expected and encouraged. Students are expected to arrive at class with a command of the assigned readings. All must have the reading for a particular class with them in class. Class participation entails more than just showing up for class; it reflects a student's active engagement of the course material through the asking and answering of questions and contributing to class discussions.
Grading: Exams: There will be a mid-term and a final exam. The mid-term will be on February 22. The final exam will be at the assigned time during the final exam period. Each exam counts for 30% of the course grade (total 60%).
Research Paper: This course requires an 8-10 page research paper. The student will choose a figure or topic from the 19th, 20th or 21st centuries as the subject matter of the paper. The paper must draw from at least one primary source and two secondary sources. Students are encouraged to employ the Philosopher's Index in their research. This paper will be developed in stages: students must submit a paper topic for approval by February 4; students must submit a preliminary bibliography by Feb. 27; students must submit a draft of the paper by March 25; students must submit the final paper by April 29. The paper counts for 40% of the course grade.
30% Mid-Term Exam
30% Final Exam
40% Research paper
Course Policies: I expect all students to be in class, on time and prepared. If it is necessary to miss class the student is responsible for all materials missed while absent.
Academic Integrity: Seminary students are expected to follow a strict honor code in taking examinations and in preparing papers, presentations, and class assignments. All work submitted by students (including homework assignments) must represent their own work or their own research into the work of others. When an assignment calls for research, students must give proper credit to the sources they consult. Violation of the honor code is a serious offense, which can result in the loss of academic credit or dismissal from the seminary. Every member of the Philosophy Department takes any form of cheating or plagiarism very seriously and the burden is on students to determine whether an action constitutes cheating or plagiarism prior to submitting work to the faculty.
Schedule for Contemporary Philosophy
Jan 14 Introduction.
Immanuel Kant, selection from Religion within the bounds of Reason Alone, pp. 6:103-6:124.
Jan 16 Kant and German Idealism.
Jan 18 G.W.F. Hegel, the dialectic from the Logic, pp. 113-121.
Jan. 21 No Class
Jan. 23 Hegel, the master/slave dialectic from The Phenomenology of Spirit, pp. 105-118.
Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pp. 225-229.
Jan. 25 Ludwig Feuerbach, God as a being of the understanding from The Essence of Christianity pp. 33-43.
Jan. 28 Introduction to Søren Kierkegaard, critique of the dialectic from The Present Age pp. 33-43.
Jan. 30 Kierkegaard, how is the truth learned? from the Philosophical Fragments, pp. 154-172.
Feb. 1 Kierkegaard, truth is subjectivity from The Concluding Unscientific Postscript, pp. 207-231.
Feb. 4 Kierkegaard, the teleological suspension of the ethical from Fear and Trembling pp. 83-95. Paper topic due.
Feb. 6 Friedrich Nietzsche, nihilism from The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 33-47 and 56-60
Feb. 8 Nietzsche, "On Truth and Falsity in Their Extramoral Sense" pp. 87-99
Feb. 11 Nietzsche, master/slave morality from On the Genealogy of Morals, pp. 460-479.
Nicolas Berdyaev, "The Christian Morality as the Morality of Strength" from The Destiny of Man pp.114-117.
Feb. 13 Nietzsche, the death of God and the Übermensch from Thus Spoke Zarathustra pp. 9-27.
Feb. 15 Gerald McCool, S.J., the rise of neo-Thomism from Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 129-144.
Feb. 18 No Class
Feb. 20 McCool, cont. Also read Aeterni Patris.
Feb. 22 Mid Term Exam
Feb. 25 Edmund Husserl, phenomenology and the critique of empiricism from "Philosophy as Rigorous Science" pp. 166-185.
Feb. 27 Husserl cont. Preliminary bibliography due.
March 1 No Class
March 4 Martin Heidegger, existential phenomenology.
March 6 Heidegger, death and everyday existence from Being and Time, 279-311.
March 8 Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) introduction, on truth, from Finite and Eternal Being pp. 294-309.
March 11 Stein, individual form from Finite and Eternal Being pp. 155-166 and 225-232.
March 13 No Class-Stafford Lecture
March 15 Stein, the image of God in human beings, from Finite and Eternal Being pp. 427-444. The Science of the Cross, 159-166.
March 18 No Class
March 20 Ludwig Wittgenstein, language and meaning from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus pp. 1093-1101.
March 22 Wittgesntein, meaning revisited from the Philosophical Investigations pp. 1101-1118.
March 25 Nicolas Berdyaev, "The Bourgeois Mind," pp. 82-91. First Draft of Paper Due.
Easter Break: No Class March 26-April 7
April 8 Emmanuel Mounier, "What is Personalism?" from A Personalist Manifesto, pp. 67-88.
April 10 Jacque Maritain, "Religion and Culture" from Freedom in the Modern World, pp. 42-62.
April 12 Maritain cont. "Religion and Culture," pp. 62-72.
April 15 Jean Paul Sartre, atheistic existentialism from "The Humanism of Existentialism" pp. 31-62
April 17 Sartre, freedom and bad faith cont.
April 19 Emmanuel Mounier, "Freedom Under Conditions" from Personalism pp. 54-64.
April 22 Stanley Grenz, introduction to postmodernism from A Primer on Postmodernism Chapters One and Two pp. 1-38.
April 24 Grenz, the postmodern world view, Primer pp. 39-56
April 26 Grenz, Primer pp. 98-121; Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Hermeneutic Experience" from Truth and Method.
April 29 Grenz, postmodern theory, Primer pp. 123-160. Final Paper Due.
May 1 Grenz, postmodern theory continued. Roland Barth, "From Work to Text." 518-524.
May 2 Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., "Unreliable Tools" pp. 141- 148.
May 3 Pope John Paul II, the task of philosophy from Fides et ratio chapter 7.