PHI 117 — An Introduction to European Philosophy: Descartes to Derrida
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Mar 31—Jun 2
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 2
Instructor(s): 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 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. We will see how 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. We will explore how, 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. We will also discuss how their thinking is consistently rooted in concrete social, political, and historical contexts. Students will come away with a deeper understanding of postmodern philosophy and will develop a foundation for continued study.
Forrest Hartman, Senior Adjunct, Critical Studies Program, California College of the ArtsForrest 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 an MA 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 (ISBN 9780631201434)