Death and Beauty: Schopenhauer and Nietzsche - PL638

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury
(version 2)
Spring
View Timetable
5 30 (15) DR E Kanterian

Pre-requisites

None

Restrictions

None

2017-18

Overview

This module concerns ideas of two of the most interesting of Western philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both thinkers developed ideas that transformed much of the intellectual landscape of twentieth century, and both wrote books that prove fruitful for successive generations. They wrote on many themes: ethics, religion, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Both take their starting point from those thinkers that came before, notably Kant and Hegel. However, they are interesting to compare because they have such different views on philosophical thought and various themes. In particular, some of Nietzsche’s thought is framed explicitly in opposition to Schopenhauer’s, with the former casting the latter as the great pessimist. An appreciation of their ideas is an important part of the education of many philosophy students. However, both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche can be hard writers to read and understand. This module is designed both to introduce some of their ideas and develop a student’s appreciation of them such that he or she can discuss them with confidence and critical insight.
The module will not cover all of the writings of either or both thinkers. Students will typically read selections from Schopenhauer’s masterwork The World as Will and Representation and then selections from a variety of Nietzsche’s works, or one work in full. These will be read on their own, with ideas from both thinkers compared. Modern writers and commentators will be read in addition to help reveal the importance of Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s ideas.

Details

This module appears in:


Contact hours

1x 2hr lecture per week, 1x 1hr seminar per week for 11 teaching weeks.

Availability

Also available at Level 6 under code PL639

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:

Short essay (20%)
Short essay (20%)
Long essay (50%)
Seminar performance (10%)

Preliminary reading

Indicative reading:

Schopenhauer:
Essays and Aphorisms (London), trans. R. J. Hollingdale
The World as Will and Representation (Dover), trans. E. F. J. Payne, two volumes.

Nietzsche:
The Birth of Tragedy (Penguin), trans. S. Whiteside
Human, all too Human (Penguin)
Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin)
Thus Spake Zarathustra (Penguin)

Selected Commentaries:
Christopher Janaway (1989) Self and World in Schopenhauer’s Philosophy (Oxford UP).
Christopher Janaway (1999) The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer (Cambridge UP)
Vandenabeele Bart (2012) (ed.) A Companion to Schopenhauer (Blackwell).

Ken Gemes and Simon May (eds.) (2011) Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy (Oxford UP).
Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds.) (2009) Nietzsche and Morality (Oxford UP).
Richard Schacht (1994) Nietzsche, Genealogy, Morality: Essays on Nietzsche’s ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’ (California UP).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, Level 5 students should be able to:

(11.1) Outline and show understanding through clear expression of a specific writing or writings by Schopenhauer.
(11.2) Connect that specific writing or writings of Schopenhauer to modern works and themes. Students should be able to comment on those themes and critically assess Schopenhauer's contributions.
(11.3) Outline and show understanding through clear expression of a specific writing or writings by Nietzsche.
(11.4) Connect that specific writing or writings of Nietzsche to modern works and themes. Students should be able to comment on those themes and critically discuss Nietzsche's contributions.
(11.5) Connect some of Schopenhauer's and Nietzsche's ideas to each other and critically compare them.

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