PHL314 Existentialism
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: MCC212A
Email: craig.delancey@oswego.edu



Current Assignments
17 November
Read "Absurd Man" from The Myth of Sisyphus

A fun video to listen to: Viggo Mortensen 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.
20 November
Read "Absurd Creation" & "The Myth of Sisyphus" from The Myth of Sisyphus
Tentative Assignments
27 November
Read Selection from The Rebel.
29 November
Read Daesh article.
1 December
The Camus/Sartre/Beavoir battle!
4, 6, 8 December
Catch-up. We might watch Beckett's Endgame.
4, 8 December
On these days, unfortunately, I cannot have my office hours. I will have office hours all day December 11 to make up for this.
13 December
Final exam in our classroom, MCC 231, 10:30-12:30.

Final papers due before 4:00 pm. These should be 5-6 pages long, on one of the following questions, or another you arrange with me. Use the "analytic philosophy paper format" guide. Here are some suggested topics. You may propose others.
  • Are Garcin, Inez, and Estelle acting in bad faith? Why? It is easy to find conventional moral failings for the three, but what existential failings do they have?
  • What are the benefits (what problems does it solve?) and what are the costs (what problems does it raise?) for Heidegger's notion of being-in-the-world as a solution to classical problems of epistemology?
  • What, if any, are the similarities and differences between Sartre's Bad Faith and Heidegger's Authenticity?
  • Sartre says that Heidegger is, like him, an atheist. Is this right? What reasons are there to think it is right?
  • How do the condition and the choices of the characters in No Exit exemplify choices and difficulties that Sartre describes in his existentialism?
  • Read Sartre's play, The Flies. How do the condition and the choices of the characters in The Flies exemplify choices and difficulties that Sartre describes in his existentialism? If you're writing about The Flies, I really believe you should take the time to read The Libation Bearers.
  • In The Flies, Orestes tells Zeus that it doesn't matter if Zeus created the universe. Would Sartre's existentialism remain the same if a god existed? Focus on one specific aspect of his existentialism -- for example, the idea that values are created by choice.
  • How do Heidegger and Sartre balance their notions of facticity with the claim that we are free?
  • What, if any, similarities are there between Beckett's work and existentialism? Where do they differ? (A good thing to consider is the notion of authenticity....)
  • What is the "absurd," in The Myth of Sisyphus? How should we understand the term if we are to make the clearest reconstruction of Camus's theory and claims?
  • Is the Camus of Man in Revolt [The Rebel] an existentialist?
  • Reconstruct an existentialist ethic from Simone de Beauvoir's The Ethics of Ambiguity. Consider a moral problem, like environmental ethics or refugees or climate change. How would we solve it using her theory?
  • Is Camus's argument against suicide in The Myth of Sisyphus sound? Is his argument against suicide in Man in Revolt sound?