Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: MCC 212A
Reading: read sections 1 and 2 of David Strauss,
the first Untimely Meditation. Optional are sections 4-6.
In class, we will review David Strauss, Nietzsche's background,
and then the opening of this reading.
Practice: in section 2, Nietzsche introduces the idea
of the philistine. This is related to an idea that will be
very important to all the existentialists, and which is typically
called "authenticity". Here, Nietzsche is arguing that many
people are like this cultural philistine, who is both uncritical
of his own views, and also who "perceives around him
nothing but needs identical with and views similar to his own" (8).
Do you think that in our time, many of us suffer from such a
preconception -- that we are both uncritical of their own views and
also see only confirmation of our views? Can you give an example?
Does such behavior matter -- that is, is it important (for example,
is it harmful)? Write up your answer in a page or so and bring it
to me in class.
Reading: read sections 7 and 8 of David Strauss,
the first Untimely Meditation. Optional are sections 9-12.
We will be focussing on section 8 in our discussions. Then we will
introduce the philosopher Schopenhauer.
Practice: Strauss sees in Darwin a way to propose his own
ethics, which is really just the contemporary ethics of his
Germany. Nietzsche sees in Darwin and in the death of God a
catastrophe -- in the sense that it now makes it unclear how we
are to find purpose and values. Who is right? Do Darwinism and
atheism tell us anything about ethics? Write up your answer in a
page or so.
Reading: read sections 1, 5, and 6 of Schopenhauer as
Educator, the third Untimely Meditation. Optional are
sections 2-4. Read section 5 very closely. It's the key to
Nietzsche's thinking about these matters.
Practice: in Section 1, Nietzsche writes that "We are
responsible to ourselves for our own existence" (128). Look
closely at this passage. Is it fair? Are you responsible for
your existence? Do you have to do something bold and dangerous
in answer to this responsibility? Write up your answer in a page
I know I gave you a lot of practices already! I wanted to make
you think about Nietzsche on your own. We'll have a breather while
we discuss phenomenology and start Heidegger.
Some important contextual material:
- Some last thoughts about the Untimely Meditations.
- The method of phenomenology, and existential phenomenology.
- Introductory background on Heidegger.
Hold onto your socks. Read chapter 1 of Being and Time,
along with the little introduction to part one; this is likely
pages 65-77 in your book (assuming we have the same
pagination). We are skipping the introduction, which is
valuable but about method and about Heidegger's long term goal.
I recommend that you start reading Polt if you got a copy of
You may find this first dip into Heidegger difficult -- don't
worry. Do your best, and as we become comfortable with his way
of writing, you'll find it is much easier to understand than
you might expect.
Reading: read chapter 2 of Being and Time.
This is the chapter on being in. Very important.
Reading: read chapter 3, sections 14 and 15, of Being and
Reading: read chapter 3, sections 16 and 18, of Being and
Time (section 17 is optional).
Practice: Two tasks: (1) name one thing that is typically
ready-to-hand for you, and describe when it is ready-to-hand
(I mean, under what kinds of activities or conditions?).
And (2) name one thing that is present-at-hand for you and
describe when (that is, during which kind of activity) it is
present-at-hand. Please apply the honor system and come up
with your own example, working on your own. Don't just copy
an example from Dreyfus or Polt or -- god forbid --
Wikipedia. Should only take a page or two.
(Note: up to now I've been giving little feedback on the
practices because I only asked for your opinions. From hereon,
I'll be asking you to correctly apply existentialist concepts, so
I'll be grading more rigorously to be sure that you know whether
you understand and can apply the concepts.)
Reading: read chapter 3, sections 19-21, of Being and
Time (sections 22-24 are optional).
Practice: 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; 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.
You can pick up your ticket to the Bacchae starting Monday. You need to go to the box office.
I'm going to the play on October 30, and encourage everyone else to go October 30. That's a Friday, and we'll be discussing Nietzsche and the play for the 3 classes before then, so the timing is good. But you can get a ticket for another night if you have a conflict with the 30th. They'll ask you about your night when you ask to pick up your ticket.
Reading: read chapter 4 of Being and
NOTE: You can pick up your ticket to the Bacchae starting
Monday. You need to go to the box office. I'm going to the play
on October 30, and encourage everyone else to go October 30.
That's a Friday, and we'll be discussing Nietzsche and the play
for the 3 classes before then, so the timing is good. But you
can get a ticket for another night if you have a conflict with
the 30th. They'll ask you about your night when you ask to pick
up your ticket.
I'll be out of town giving a talk. I recommend that you gather
still in class, and discuss Das Man and authenticity. What is
authenticity? Are you authentic? Do you ever obey Das Man? Or
do you always create your own way of being in the world?
(Remember: Das Man would sleep in on Monday, and not go to class,
'cause that'd be what the cool kids are doing.) Try as a group
to come up with some questions for me, for when I return.
I'm trying to discover what the situation is with the tickets.
I'll keep you informed.
Read sections 35-38, and that little intro to 35 under
the label "B".
Read sections of 28-31 of Being and Time. If you can
manage it, read all of chapter V.
Please note: I can't have office hours today.
Steinkraus Lecture. Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Mill's
Political Philosophy an American Ideals. 2:15 p.m. in the Historic
Lecture Hall, room 222 Sheldon.
Read B&T sections 39-41, 43 intro, 43a, 43c, and 44b and 44c.
Practice! 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.
An assignment due at the beginning of class. This
should only take a page or two. It should be typed. 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 (anger, boredom,
confusion -- you be the judge). 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. Hand this in at the beginning of