“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?” This famous line uttered by Nietzsche’s madman captures an idea that resonates throughout existentialist thought – even if God exists, His existence cannot be presupposed as a premise, and cannot be proven by rational means. Consequently, the re-valuation of all values – how we are to find meaning and purpose in our existence, and how we are to determine how we ought to live – becomes one of the most pressing issues for modern humankind. The goal of existentialism was to avoid slipping into nihilism when confronted with the death of God. In this course, we will consider what it means to be free and the weight of our responsibility for our choices and actions (1) in the absence of an objective, transcendent, pre-determined morality and (2) in the presence of others. Philosophers covered will include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and Beauvoir.
Friday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.