Fall 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Bambach, Charles
Discipline and Number
HUHI 6355 Section 001
T Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Twentieth Century Philosophy

Description of Course:

Contemporary continental philosophy understands itself as an ongoing conversation with the work of Heidegger, a conversation that involves a decidedly critical engagement with the ethical legacy of the 20th century. Growing out of Heidegger's unwillingness to address his own complicity in this legacy, several French philosophers such as Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, and Maurice Blanchot have written works that grapple with the ethical failings of Heideggerian philosophy. In this graduate seminar I want to look at this specific conversation: the French encounter with Heidegger on the question of ethical responsibility and the relation to the Other. I choose this specific theme because it seems to me that much contemporary thinking on the continent concerns ways of both retrieving and de-structuring the fundamental tenets of Heideggerian thinking. I want to look at how this French tradition, through its critique of Heidegger, has helped to shape the way 20th- century Continental philosophy has defined itself.

My hope here is that by familiarizing ourselves with the basic tenets of this dispute we can be in a better position to think through the current debate about hermeneutics, deconstruction, phenomenology, literary theory and the Holocaust that determines the way we think about the Western tradition.

Required Texts:

Martin Heidegger, "Letter on Humanism" in: Pathmarks
Jacques Derrida, "The Force of Law" in: Acts of Religion
Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality
Jacques Derrida, "Hostipitality" in: Acts of Religion
Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity
Maurice Blanchot, Writing the Disaster
Jean-Luc Nancy, On the Creation of the World or Globalization

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

A 12-15 page semester essay (suitable for portfolio), a 1-2 page Protokoll delivered in class, and a 1-2 page paper proposal due 4 weeks before the end of the semester.

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