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Nietzsche in Context (PH334-15)

Timing & CATS

This module will be running in the Spring Term of 2017-18 and is worth 15 CATS.

Module Description

In 2017/18 this module will involve a study of Nietzsche’s writings in relation to the writings of the American essayist and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82). Nietzsche greatly admired Emerson for his cheerful spirit and for opening up possibilities of life and of thinking. In spite of their highly different cultural contexts the two thinkers have much in common: both are iconoclasts and nonconformists and both are preoccupied with the question of how to live a vital life and cultivate an original relationship to the world. With Emerson the focus will be on his ‘Essays’, which cover a wide range of topics, such as nature, history, fate, experience, love and friendship, self-reliance, and the over-soul. With Nietzsche we will cover some key ideas from his corpus, with a concentration on the early and middle writings, such as the Unfashionable Observations and The Gay Science. Topics to be looked at include: the origins and tasks of philosophy; education and the needs of life; moral perfectionism; skepticism; philosophical cheerfulness; the love of one’s fate; friendship, and so on.

Learning Outcomes or Aims

By the end of the course students should have a sound and scholarly understanding of Nietzsche’s intellectual development and his core preoccupations as a philosopher, a rich appreciation of key moments in his published and unpublished writings, an understanding of Nietzsche in relation to central questions in philosophy (including metaphysics, the philosophy of life, ethics, etc), and an appreciation of his seminal importance for subsequent developments in philosophy; they should also be able to discuss incisively and critically his key concepts and ideas both in seminar discussions and written work.

Contact Time

In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of seminars per week.

Lectures for 2017/18
  • Thursday 4pm to 6pm in L5

There will be no lectures in reading week (week 6)

Seminars for 2017/18

Seminars for this course start in week 2

There will be no seminars during reading week (week 6)

Please sign up for a seminar group using Tabula 

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed in the following way:

  • One 1,500-word essay (worth 15% of the module)

  • One 2,500-word essay (worth 85% of the module)

Essays should be submitted to Tabula in line with the essay deadlines schedule.

Background Reading & Textbooks

  • The Gay Science (Random House, 1974)

  • The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Modern Library, 2000)

Course Materials

From October 2016 course materials for all modules will be available on Moodle. Simply sign in and select the module from your Moodle home page.