Existentialism is not so much a philosophical movement
(in its own right) as it is a revolt against the entrenched
western philosophical tradition which, by the second half
of the 18th century, was dominated by the values of reason,
objectivity and the scientific method. These values
brought about astounding progress in science, but the
Existentialists argued that when one applies these to the
unique human individual, one is prone to harm him. One
does not understand human nature by applying standards
of objectivity, but rather, understanding human
beings means we must relate to them existentially.

In this course we will study some of the major
Existentialist figures in the 19th and 20th centuries and
the most dominant themes that run through their writings,
such as “subjectivity is truth” (as opposed to objectivity
is truth), “radical freedom” and “the unique individual.”
We will study selections from writings of Kierkegaard,
Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger and Camus.

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