Special Topics in 20th Century Philosophy: Phenomenology
Dr. Kyle Banick
Wednesdays · 5:30pm–8:15pm · LA1–304
Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. This course guides students through a close reading of a selection of classic texts, including works by Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and de Beauvoir. We will consider phenomenology as a method—divorced from theory—that makes sense of the flow of conscious experience. We will also consider phenomenology as a new style of ‘first philosophy’, investigating the sense in which traditional phenomenologists were building grand philosophical systems. Along the way, we will encounter such philosophical topics as the nature and existence of the self, the ontological structure of the world, the imagination and the intellect, the awareness of time, metaphysical groundlessness, embodiment, and affectivity. Phenomenology is best learned by practicing, and the course will feature a hands-on component in which students practice gradually more sophisticated phenomenological exercises. Students will be challenged to apply phenomenological philosophy to present-day concerns and to interrogate the relationship between a phenomenological self-understanding and neuroscientific accounts of consciousness.