Study Abroad and Exchanges



PHI1005 : Existentialism and the Self

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to introduce students to the main themes in Existentialism, exploring the work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre, and topics such as the nature of free will, personhood and meaning.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introductory lecture: essence and existence
What is Existentialism?
Kierkegaard on the aesthetic sphere of existence and its shortcomings
Kierkegaard on the ethical sphere of existence and its shortcomings
Kierkegaard on the ‘leap of faith’ and the religious sphere of existence
Nietzsche on nihilism
Nietzsche on the metamorphoses of the spirit
Nietzsche on the Eternal Return of the Same
Freud on the unconscious
Sartre on existence and Existentialism
Sartre on free will and determinism
Sartre on bad faith and authenticity

Class discussion will explore, in particular, the following topics: topics concerning free will and determinism; faith, belief and the absurd; the coherence of the notion of the unconscious.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Preparation and completion of essays.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1140:00140:00Prepare lecture material and prepare for small group teaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce central themes in European philosophy and provide an introduction to basic concepts and techniques in Existentialism. General study skills are to be taught in seminars, in particular skill in hermeneutically engaging with philosophical texts. Reading and reflecting on books and articles will take place in private study

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502000 words
Essay2A502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay tests the ability to think creatively, self-critically and independently, managing one’s own work to time limits. Students will be assessed on their knowledge of key topics in Existentialism. They will be assessed on their skill to sensitively interpret texts drawn from a variety of ages and traditions.

Reading Lists