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The Problems of Modernity (PH917-20/30)

‘We still live in the aftermath of modernism … Much of what we live today consists of reactions to it, and more, of the dissociation and prolongation of the strands it united’ (Charles Taylor). This interdisciplinary module examines a number of related themes that occupied many of the culturally influential ‘modernist’ philosophers, social theorists and literary figures in continental Europe in the early part of the 20th century. These preoccupations generally arose from an increasing disaffection with received patterns of thought inherited from the Enlightenment tradition.The critical modernist response to Enlightenment thought took a variety of forms.

Themes to be considered include the surge of interest in phenomena of the pre-theoretical life-world; the emphasis on the role of affective and/or pre-reflective intentionality (Nietzsche, Scheler, Sartre); the preoccupation with the relations between technical reason, value and nihilism (Musil, Heidegger); the analysis of the foundations of modern capitalism and of modern ‘rationalized’ civilization (Weber, Freud); and various forms of -- often conflicted -- aestheticism (Nietzsche, Mann, Musil). Also considered will be the late modernist, existentialist strand of thought which radicalised the self/world divide often thought constitutive of cultural modernity (Sartre).

Module Director

Peter Poellner

Timing and CATS

This module runs in the Spring Term of the 2016/17 academic year, and is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.