Death and Beauty: Schopenhauer and Nietzsche - PHIL6390

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Canterbury
Spring Term 6 30 (15) Edward Kanterian checkmark-circle

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 the 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 The World as Will and Representation, and his essays, 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

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40
Total Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Weekly summary (300 words) – 10%
Essay (3,000 words) – 70%
Seminar Participation – 20%

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Gemes, K. and Simon May (eds.) (2011). Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. (Oxford: OUP).
Janaway, C. (1999). The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer. (Cambridge: CUP)
Leiter, B. and Neil Sinhababu (eds.) (2009). Nietzsche and Morality. (Oxford: OUP).
Nietzsche, F. (1993). The Birth of Tragedy. (London: Penguin)
Schopenhauer, A. (1973). Essays and Aphorisms. (London: Penguin)
Schopenhauer, A. (1969). The World as Will and Representation. (New York: Dover)
Vandenabeele, B. (2012) (ed.). A Companion to Schopenhauer. (London: Blackwell).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a specific writing or writings by Schopenhauer;
2 Connect specific writing or writings of Schopenhauer to modern works and themes, and comment on those themes and critically assess Schopenhauer's contributions;
3 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a specific writing or writings by Nietzsche;
4 Connect specific writing or writings of Nietzsche to modern works and themes, and comment on those themes and critically discuss Nietzsche's contributions;
5 Connect and contrast the benefits of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche's ideas to each other, and critically compare them in a sustained manner that shows depth of understanding.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate enhanced skills in critical analysis and argument both through their reading and through listening to others;
2 Demonstrate a deepened ability to make complex ideas understandable in their philosophical writing and dialogue, with a focus on precision and clarity;
3 Demonstrate confidence in working autonomously and taking responsibility for their learning.

Notes

  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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