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PHI 117 — An Introduction to European Philosophy: Descartes to Derrida

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 16
Units: 2
Tuition: $480
Instructor(s): Forrest Hartman
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 3—Jun 5
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 16
2 Units
Forrest Hartman
What is the nature of subjectivity and the self? How does language tell us who we are? What is the role of reason, and what are the limits of knowledge? In this introductory philosophy course, we will learn how some of our greatest western European thinkers sought to answer fundamental questions about truth, meaning, and the human condition.

We will begin by studying modernist philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and Hegel. Their collective discourse catalyzed postmodern developments in the 19th and 20th centuries and paved the way for notoriously complex thinkers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Deleuze, Levinas, and Foucault. Delving into their critical texts, we will uncover common themes in postmodern continental philosophy, including a reappraisal of modernist humanism and the displacement of the modern subject. Eschewing abstract theories, these philosophers defer to the primacy of experience, beyond the narrow pale of logic, as a way to open up broad cultural and aesthetic concerns. Their thinking is also consistently rooted in concrete social, political, and historical contexts. Students taking this course will come away with a deeper understanding of the postmodern project in philosophy and will develop a foundation for continued study. Our textbook will be Descartes to Derrida: An Introduction to European Philosophy by Peter Sedgwick.

Forrest Hartman, Senior Adjunct Professor in Critical Studies, California College of the Arts

Forrest Hartman’s research interests are based in the history of ideas and cultural studies, especially the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. He received a PhD in rhetoric/philosophy from UC Berkeley and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Peter Sedgwick, Descartes to Derrida: An Introduction to European Philosophy, Only one (ISBN 10:9780631201434)