Phil 7 Fall 2015

Existentialism in Literature & Film

What is it to be a human being? How can human beings live meaningful lives? These questions will guide our discussion of theistic and atheistic existentialism and their manifestations in literature and film. Material will include philosophical texts from Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche; literature from Dostoevsky; films from Alain Resnais, Carol Reed, and Jean-Luc Godard.

Notes: Films will be screened at a time and place to be announced.

Handouts are listed at the bottom of this page

Lecture & Film Schedule (upadated 10/5/15)

Aug. 27 Introduction: What is Existentialism?

Sep. 1, 3 Kierkegaard, Fear & Trembling - Preamble from the Heart

Sep. 8, 10 Fear & Trembling, Problema II

Sep. 14 Hiroshima Mon Amour - screening from 7-9 PM; 100 Genetics Plant Building

Sep. 15 Discussion of Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour

Sep. 17 Fear & Trembling, Problema I

Sep. 21 The Third Man will be shown Mo 9/21 4-6 Pm 101 Morgan

Sep. 22 Discussion of Carol Reed’s The Third Man

Sep. 24, 29 Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death (Self excerpts)

Oct. 1 Pascal (Excerpts)

Oct. 6, 8 Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov, Part I


Oct. 13, 15 Brothers Karamazov, Part II (see handout below “Antinomies in the GI”)

Oct. 20, 22 Brothers Karamazov, Part III

Oct. 27, 29 Brothers Karamazov, Part IV

Nov. 3, 5 Brothers Karamazov, Conclusion


Nov. 10, 12 Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (excerpts)

Nov. 17, 19 Nietzsche, The Gay Science (excerpts)

Nov. 24 Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ (excerpts)

Nov. 30 Breathless

Dec. 1 Discussion of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless

Dec. 3 “Existentialists Writers”

Dec. 8, 10 Reading/ Review / Recitation week

Dec 15 Examination

Required Reading:

Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov (Dover) Kierkegaard, Fear & Trembling (Penguin) Nietzsche, The Gay Science (Vintage); Twilight of the Idols ((excerpts)


Pascal, Pensées (Penguin) Duras, M., Hiroshima Mon Amour (Grove Press) Dudley, A, Breathless (Rutgers U. Press)


(1) Two 7-page papers on subjects to be selected from a list of suggested paper topics, or on a topic approved by your instructor.

(2) Up to 200 pages of reading per week

(3) Participation in weekly discussion sections

(4) Examination

Final grade will be determined as follow: 30 % on each paper and on the final examination, and 10% on class and section participation.


Greek Philosophy vs Existential Thinking

Søren Kierkegaard’s Journal entry

Defining Relation


Huckleberry Finn

Kierkegaard Self Text

Kierkegaard Self Chart

Third Man chart

Pascal, Pensées

Characters in The Brothers Karamazov

Self in The Brothers Karamzov

Antinomies in the Grand Inquisitor

Updated on 2015-10-15 02:09:33 -0700 by Hubert Dreyfus