Professor: Craig DeLancey
An overview of the course. We will think of our study within
the following framework:
- Pre-existentialism: Nietzsche, Dostoevsky
- Method: Husserl's phenomenology and the Hermeneutic Circle
- de Beauvoir
- Post-existentialism: Camus
Tentative assignments (these will be revised)
Note: I would appreciate papers by 3:00 pm on this day, if
possible. If not, please both email your paper to me, and
drop a hard copy off at the office no later than 5:00 pm on
Friday. My paper format
guidelines are here.
Final exam, in our regular classroom, 8:00 a.m. -- 10:00
a.m.. Yes, you read that right. Well, I don't write the
You may bring B&T, The Plague, No Exit, The Flies, Untimely
Meditations, a copy of "Existentialism is a Humanism,"
your copy of our selections from De Beauvoir, and if you like
a copy of Being and Nothingness if you have one. Consider
the following as worthy of study, along with the study
questions from the midterm and any study questions concerning our
- What does Heidegger mean by "anxiety"? What does anxiety
- What does Sartre say all existentialists have in common?
That is, how does he define existentialism? Would you agree
with his definition? Why or why not?
- How does Sartre interpret and explain "anguish" (which is
a common translation for angst and anxiety), "abandonment" and
- What does Orestes mean in The Flies when he says there
is another way? What is his epiphany?
- Why don't the characters of No Exit leave the room?
- What would Sartre recommend the subjects in Milgram's
experiment do? How should they understand their situation?
- What are Vladimir and Estragon waiting for, in Waiting
for Godot? Should they keep waiting? What does it mean (that
is, what does Beckett appear to mean to assert by showing) that
they wait without any result? Would Sartre recommend we wait?
Would Heidegger? Would Nietzsche? Would Camus?
- Why does Paneloux decide he will not accept the care of a
doctor? Why does the death of Jacques Othun cause him to commit
to this? Contrast his view with Rieux's notion that the job of
a doctor is to resist the order of creation.
- What does Tarrou mean when he says (in part IV, before he
actually gets the biological plague) that he too suffered from
plague? What kind of plague?
- Nietzsche took as one of his tasks opposition to nihilism.
What is nihilism? How do Heidegger, Sartre, Beckett, and Camus
variously respond to (the possibility of) nihilism?
- What is existentialism? Of the philosophers and writers
we've read, who is an existentialist, who is not, and why?
Frolic towards death with anxiety.