ONLINE: For centuries, Westerners have assumed human nature determines how we act, much as an animal's nature determines its behavior. Beginning about 150 years ago, the idea took hold that it is the other way around: How we decide to act determines who we are, what we value and how the world appears to us. That intellectual movement came to be called existentialism. In this course, we will read and discuss some of the most fascinating and influential existentialists, including Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Camus. For each class session, there will be a reading of a selection of one of these thinkers. We’ll use our class time to discuss and evaluate their ideas. As a result of our lively discussions, students can expect to come away from this course not only knowing the correct angle to tilt their beret and how to smoke a Gauloises cigarette without coughing, but being able to assess how much of their life is determined and how much is the product of their choices. | Facilitated discussion.
Max enrollment: 30.
Richard Prust is professor emeritus of philosophy at St. Andrews University and co-author of "Personal Identity in Moral and Legal Reasoning." Prust is currently working on a book titled "The Personal Meaning of Action: Its Relational Significance, Relative Importance, Emotional Force, and Moral Value."