Professor: Craig DeLancey
Reading: read chapter 3, section 18, of Being
and Time. (Section 17 is recommended but is optional.)
Practice: This is on BlackBoard. In section 16, Heidegger
introduces three new technical terms for how something
ready-to-hand can become present-at-hand for us. These are
"conspicousness" (when some equipment breaks), "obtrusiveness"
(when some equipment is absent) and "obstinacy" (when some
equipment is in the way).
Do some phenomenology. When for you has some ready-to-hand bit
of equipment become conspicuous and therefore present-at-hand for
you? Describe this. And: how did the uses (the "towards which"
and significance) of that equipment become clear to you when the
equipment became conspicuous?
Do the same twice more, describing a case of
obtrusiveness and a case of obstinacy.
Reading: read sections 26 and 27 (you should read all of
chapter 4, but I appreciate that you're busy!) of Being and
The remainder of chapter 3 is very interesting and important but
we are skipping it just becuase we have so much we want to cover
together. But I recommend you read it if you have the time to do
Optional/Extra-credit Assignment: answer the question on
Blackboard, which is: Heidegger claims that Dasein is for the
most part Das Man. What do you think this "Das Man" is? Can you
explain it in your own words?
Reading and assignment: read sections 28-30 of chapter 5
of Being and Time.
Reading: read sections 31-32 of chapter 5 of Being and Time.
Read sections 35-38.
Read B&T sections 39-41, 43 intro, 43a, 43c, and 44b and 44c.
I know that's a lot--but the most important part is section
40; make sure you read at least that.
Practice! This is on BlackBoard. Write a brief
description of an instance of idle talk in your own life; and
of curiosity (in Heidegger's sense of inauthentic greed for
the new) in your own life. How do they arise from a
they-self, Das Man?
Read B&T Division II, sections 45 and 50.
Practice:. This is on BlackBoard. Write in complete
sentences. This one is tough! It will require you to do
some serious phenomenology. Do your best. Heidegger argues
in section 29 that "state-of-mind" (much better translation
is Stambaugh's "attunement") is something Dasein always has.
In 30 he gives an ontical analysis of the attunement of fear.
An attunement has three features: it discloses (shows to you)
your thrownness; it discloses being-in-the-world as a whole;
and it allows for things to "matter" to you.
You must pick another attunement (other than the
ones that we have discussed, which were anger, boredom, and
fear). In a page or two, write up how it discloses your
thrownness and your being-in-the-world; and how it allows
something to matter to you.
Read B&T Division II, sections 45 and 50.
Read B&T Division II, sections 51-53.
Read B&T Division II, sections 54-58, 60.
Practice: Let's pressure test Heidegger. Spend half
an hour thinking about your death. You'll be sore tempted to
think about it for five minutes, but really try to think hard
and long. Imagine ceasing to exist, the world continuing
(perhaps) after you, and your projects now abandoned. How
does it make you feel about your projects, your purposes? Do
you feel like resoluteness towards death is possible? Write
up your response in a page or so. This can be handed in at class
or via BlackBoard.
If you are looking to become a better human being over
break, then read (if you have not already done so) the
Oresteia of Aeschylus. This is the trilogy of plays
Agamenon, The Libation Bearers, and The Kindly
Ones. Every library will have them, and you can probably
find them online in fair translations. (This is deeply
relevant to Sartre's play The Flies.) Less important
(because we will watch a production) but still valuable would
be to read "Waiting for Godot," "Endgame," and "Happy Days"
by Samuel Beckett.
Midterm. Heidegger and Nietzsche. Most of the test will
require short answers. You may bring and use your copy
of Being and Time and any text by Nietzsche (such as
our reader). You may not use class notes or any secondary
sources (such as the Holt book).
Topics will include but not be limited to (and so you'll be
expected to be able explain accurately but to an intelligent
- Nietzsche's response to nihilism
- Nietzsche's history of Christian morality
- Nietzsche's concept of Resentment
- The Ubermensch
- World, Being-in-the-world
- Towards-which and for-the-sake-of-which
- Das Man
- the They-self
- Attunement ("State-of-mind")
- Idle talk, curiosity, ambiguity
- Angst ("anxiety")
- Existence, potentiality-for-being
- What it means that Dasein must die alone
- Authentic and inauthentic ways of being for Dasein
- What it means to say Dasein is: being-in, being-in-the-world,
fallen, a they-self.
Read "Existentialism is a Humanism." This is ubiquitous, but
a free online translation is available at:
(If you want to see the French, a version is here.)
This is our first non-technical reading, so you should be
able to understand it pretty well before we sit down to
discuss it. While reading, ask yourself:
Practice. Answer the questions on BlackBoard
(which are: interpret events in your own life
using Sartre's version of existential features. (1) What
is an example of anguish in your life? (2) What is an
example of abandonment in your life? (3) What is an example
of despair in your life? I mean, find everyday examples
that illustrate this in your own experience.)
- What are the criticisms that Sartre sets
out to answer?
- What does Sartre really suspect causes
critics to dislike existentialism?
- What are the two kinds of existentialists,
according to Sartre?
- What does Sartre say all existentialists
have in common? That is, how does he define
- How does Sartre interpret and explain
"anguish" (which is a common translation for
angst and anxiety), "abandonment" and "despair"
- Why can existentialism allow a moral
- What does he mean when he says that
existentialism is a humanism? That is, what
sense of "humanisim" is he ruling out, and what
sense is he intending?
Fun video: A video by
the BBC on Sartre. I don't agree with all of it. (Weird
fact! Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger all worked in
meteorology before becoming philosophers! I need to find
out if Simone de Beauvoir at least had a barometer.)
Read our selection from Being and Nothingness.
Read Sartre's No Exit.
Come ready to describe the play, and to offer both a
Sartrean and a general existentialist interpretation of
it. Here are some questions to think about (and
wouldn't they make great pop-quiz questions?):
Brief homework. Where are Garcin, Estelle, and Inez? And,
for each of them, why is he or she there? ("Because they
are dead" is true, but not a very good answer. Can you say
more about why they, in particular, are in this particular
place?) Write up your answer in a typed page or two, and turn
it in at the beginning of class.
- Where are Garcin, Inez, Estelle? Or: where
do they think they are?
- Does it mean something that they cannot
find a mirror (a "glass")?
- What do you think of Garcin's plan to help
- Does Garcin's motive in fleeing the war
- What matters to Estelle? In herself and in
- What should we think of Garcin's goal: to
convince another he is not a coward, that he is
- Does it matter that the room is in Second
I found this: a
version of No Exit with the playwright Harold
Pinter playing Garcin. The room is VERY much not Second
Empire style; the play is interesting to see.
Also, we had (with some humor) brought up Sartre's
encounters with the crabs, and his play "The Condemned of
Altona." A brief NY
Times piece on this is here.
Read Sartre's The Flies. (You really should read
Aeschylus's trilogy of plays, The Oresteia, if you
have not done so in the past. You can get a copy of
Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The
Eumenides just about anywhere, and you can't really
claim to be educated without having read these.) While
reading, ask yourself (these would be good quiz questions):
- What role does guilt play for the people of Argos?
- What is the source of Zeus's power?
- Why does Zeus fear Orestes?
We'll wrap up any observations about The Flies,
discuss papers and paper format, and then I'll give you
background on Beauvoir. Any questions or observations
about Sartre can also be raised.
Read Ethics of Ambiguity, chapter 1.
Read Ethics of Ambiguity, chapter 2.
Answer the question on blackboard!
Read Ethics of Ambiguity, chapter 3, subsections 1&2.
This chapter is where SdB develops her positive theory of
existentialist ethics. Pay very close attention. Does she
have a convincing argument that we are invested in the freedom
Read Ethics of Ambiguity, chapter 3, subsections
4-5, and the conclusion. (Chapter 3, section 3 is
interesting but a little tangential to what we are
discussing; read it if you have the time.)
Read "Absurd Reasoning" from The Myth of Sisyphus
Read "Absurd Man" from The Myth of Sisyphus
A fun video to listen to:
reads a translation of Camus's 1946 speech in New York,
"The Human Crisis," from the 40s. You may decide the skip
the introduction, which is 11 and 1/2 minutes long.
Read "Absurd Creation" & "The Myth of Sisyphus"
from The Myth of Sisyphus
Read Selection from The Rebel.
I've posted it in BlackBoard and emailed it.
You can hear Camus's voice here as
he accepts the Nobel prize.
Read selection from Franz Fanon.
The Camus/Sartre/Beavoir battle!
Beckett Waiting for Godot, Act I, in class.
Beckett Waiting for Godot, Act II, in class.
Final exam in our classroom, 10:30 am -- 12:30 pm.