Existentialist philosophy calls on us to reflect meaningfully on our lives and reach conclusions that can have validity for other persons as well. Phenomenology, as a method of investigation that includes the role of the inquirer in the sphere of investigation, represents a crucial development in philosophy and science in the 20th Century. Phenomenology, as a method that takes subjectivity into account, proposes that we carefully examine, interpret, and describe the phenomena of lived experience in its complexity. We will read original texts by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Marcel, and Heidegger. Through all of these writers, we will examine both the historical and the contemporary significance of certain tensions that seem to characterize human existence in the 20th Century: the individuality of experience/the universality of reason; human finitude/the desire for transcendence or the "infinite"; human freedom/the weight of responsibility; and the individual/society.
Prerequisite: one previous course in Philosophy or permission of instructor.