20th-Century Philosophy


In this course, we will consider the development of 20th-century philosophy out of Nietzsche’s response to 19th-century philosophy and the history of philosophy as a whole in his final work, Twilight of the Idols. Topics to be discussed include the increasing focus on problems of language and metaphysics in Heidegger and Wittgenstein; the relationship of art, history, and politics in Heidegger and Benjamin; and the question of intentionality and the unconscious as taken up by Freud. The central aim will be for students to gain an appreciation of how the philosophic questioning of Nietzsche has fostered the rich variety of contemporary philosophic interests. Readings: Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (selections); Heidegger, Basic Writings (selections); Wittgenstein, The Blue Book; Freud, Civilization and its Discontents; and Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducability and Other Writings (selections).