Philosophy 189

Fall 2012

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
189 Topics in Recent European Philosophy: Heidegger Kaiser TuTh 11-12:30 234 Moses

Note: As taught this semester, Philosophy 189 can count towards the 160-187 History requirement (not the 160-178 requirement).

Though Heidegger’s opus magnum Being and Time (1927) has made major contributions to existential thought, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism its main concern is a revolution in what Heidegger regarded as the central term of philosophy since antiquity: the concept of being. Because he viewed the traditional understanding of this concept as fatally superficial and misguided, his plan was to work out a new fundamental ontology. Its design was (1) to uncover the true meaning of being on the basis of temporality as its transcendental horizon and (2) to point out the crucial steps in the tradition (Aristotle, Descartes and Kant) that led to the misconception. Heidegger never finished this ambitious project, but the work’s first published part Being and Time (1927) still counts as one of the most challenging and important works of the 20th century. The course will focus on the connection between the question of being, the analysis of human nature, and the phenomenological method that Heidegger presents as the necessary foundation of his project in Division I of Being and Time. We will also cover the first three chapters of Division II including the analysis of death, conscience, resoluteness and Dasein’s authentic potentiality for being ‘whole’.

Participants are required to give one short presentation (10-15 minutes, including a brief hand-out) and to write a final paper of 15 pages at the end of the semester.

Text to be used: Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie/Edward Robinson, paperback reprint 2008, Harper Perennial Modern Thought Series. However, we will also extensively consult the revised 2010 edition by Dennis J. Schmidt of the Joan Stambaugh translation (Suny Series in Contemporary Philosophy).

The course will be taught in a seminar format. Enrolment is limited to 19 and is by application only. Preference will be given to junior and senior philosophy majors. To apply to enrol students should write a brief email to the instructor ( by May 24th describing their background in philosophy (courses taken) and their interest in the course. All applicants will be notified soon afterwards and those accepted will be given a course enrolment code via email.

Previously taught: SP12, FL11, SP10, FL08, SP08, SP07, SP04.