PHIL 3018 - Existentialism

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

The most distinctive focus of existentialism is the nature and meaning of human existence. Existentialist philosophers raise anew the question of the meaning of existence because they find traditional answers to it inadequate. Any conception of the nature and meaning of human existence has implications for questions such as the nature of the self, the relation with others, and ethical ideals such as altruism and self-creation. The course will focus on two prominent existentialist philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre. Both philosophers attempt to address the question of the meaning of life. The central concern of Nietzsche's philosophy is nihilism and the conditions of its overcoming. The main problem addressed by Sartre's philosophy is the absurdity of existence and its practical implications.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 3018
    Course Existentialism
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
    Incompatible PHIL 2034
    Course Description The most distinctive focus of existentialism is the nature and meaning of human existence. Existentialist philosophers raise anew the question of the meaning of existence because they find traditional answers to it inadequate. Any conception of the nature and meaning of human existence has implications for questions such as the nature of the self, the relation with others, and ethical ideals such as altruism and self-creation. The course will focus on two prominent existentialist philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre. Both philosophers attempt to address the question of the meaning of life. The central concern of Nietzsche's philosophy is nihilism and the conditions of its overcoming. The main problem addressed by Sartre's philosophy is the absurdity of existence and its practical implications.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jordi Fernandez

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to
    1. Introduce students to the views of some representative philosophers and writers in the existentialist tradition: Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre, most prominently.
    2. Develop an understanding of several philosophical themes in the existentialist tradition, such as the foundation of moral values, the ideals of authenticity and self-creation, and relations to others like altruism and love.
    After successfully completing this course, students should be able to
    3. Display an awareness of the main views of some representative existentialist philosophers and writers.
    4. Analyse texts from existentialist philosophers and extract the relevant arguments from them.
    5. Evaluate an argument by an existentialist philosopher (as valid, or sound).

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    4-5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    1-5

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1-5

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1-3

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1-5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • There is no textbook for the course. All readings will be made available through MyUni.
    Online Learning
    • All lectures will be pre-recorded and released through MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is taught in lectures+workshop format:

    - Lectures are pre-recorded and will be made available through MyUni.
    - You will have the option of attending either a face-to-face workshop, or an on-line workshop through Zoom.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 x 1-hour lectures per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour worshop per week 12 hours per semester
    4 hours assignment preparation per week 48 hours per semester
    3 hours tutorial preparation per week 36 hours per semester
    3 hours reading per week 36 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semeste
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course will cover the following topics:

    Kierkegaard on faith
    Schopenhauer’s pessimism
    Nietzsche on nihilism
    Nietzsche on the re-evaluation of values
    Nietzsche on the eternal recurrence
    Nietzsche on being oneself
    Sartre on bad faith
    Sartre on alienation, shame and love
    Sartre on life choices
    Robert Nozick and Neil Delaney on love
    Charles Larmore and Joe Mintoff on life plans
    Thomas Nagel and Albert Camus on the meaning of life
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    • Formative assessment: Workshop participation. (0% weighting.) Relevant learning outcomes: 1-6.
    • Formative assessment: Quiz. (0% weighting.) Relevant learning outcomes: 1-4.
    • Summative assessment: Essay 1. (50% weighting.) Relevant learning outcomes: 1-4.
    • Summative assessment: Essay 2. (50% weighting.) Relevant learning outcomes: 1-4.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Submission of two essays is a course requirement. The first one should be about 2,000 words long. The second one should be about 2,500 words long. You are strongly urged to attend the course workshops, though attendance is not compulsory.
    Assessment Detail
    Your assessment will involve weekly workshop participation and two essays.
    Workshops. Each week you will participate in the discussion of questions previously posted in MyUni.
    Essay 1 (2000 words).
    Essay 2 (2500 words).
    Submission
    a) Submitting your essays

    All essays must be submitted electronically through MyUni. Please do not submit a hard copy of your essay. In this course, we will only accept electronic submission of essays through MyUni. Please remember that it is your responsibility to submit your essays correctly.

    b) Overdue work

    If your essay is submitted after the due date without an extension, then your work will be considered late/overdue. Please note the following regarding late/overdue work:

    (i) Late essays will be penalized at the rate of 2 marks of the percentage mark achieved for that
    assessment component for each day that the work is overdue.
    (ii) Essays submitted more than 7 days late without an extension will not be marked.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    https://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/?dsn=policy.document;field=data;id=161;m=view
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.