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Course Syllabus

Course Information PHIL 4305 20 TH CENTURY CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY Charles Bambach

Fall 2011

M/W 1:00 AM-2:15 PM

Professor Contact Information My office hours, in JO 5.416, are from 12:00PM-1:00 PM on Monday/Wednesday and by appointment; the phone number is 972-883-2006.My e-mail address is:


Course Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and/or Other Restrictions None

Course Description

In this undergraduate course I would like to explore problems of twentieth-century continental philosophy in their hermeneutic context by reading some of the principal texts in German and French thinking during this period. Beginning with Heidegger, we will then read some of those philosophers who were deeply influenced by Heidegger (Levinas, Derrida, Blanchot, Nancy) as we attempt to raise ethical issues of concern, questions dealing with the "other"---in dialogue and as deconstruction. Primary among our concerns will be the way philosophers attempt to rethink what philosophy is in wake of the destructive history of the twentieth century.

Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes Students will learn interpretive skills in reading texts with care, improve their writing ability, and gain a rudimentary knowledge of philosophical approaches to tragedy, poetry, and justice.

Required Textbooks and Materials The following editions are REQUIRED. You may find them at the UTD Book Store, Off Campus Books, and commercially. It is imperative that you purchase the EXACT editions of these texts and NOT just any translation of these works.

Martin Heidegger Basic Writings (Harper Collins) Emmanuel Levinas Totality and Infinity (Duquesne UP) Jacques Derrida Acts of Religion (Routledge) Maurice Blanchot Writing the Disaster University of Nebraska Press) Jean-Luc Nancy, The Creation of the World or Globalization (SUNY Press) Walter Benjamin Illuminations (Schocken Books)

Suggested Course Materials

R. Solomon., ed. Blackwell Guide to Continental Philosophy

S. Glendinning, ed., Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy

John Protevi, ed., Edinburgh Dictionary of Continental Philosophy

S. Critchley, ed. ,A Companion to Continental Philosophy

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Assignments & Academic Calendar

24 August: Course introduction

29-31 August and.5-7 September: Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism” in: Basic Writings,


12-14-19-21 September: Levinas, Totality and Infinity, pp. 21-30; 33-52; 70-105; 194-


26-28 September and 3-5-10 October: Derrida, “Force of Law” in: Acts of Religion, pp.



12-17-19-24-26-31 October: Blanchot, Writing the Diasaster.

2-7-9-14-16-21-23 November: Jean-Luc Nancy, The Creation of the World or Globalization

28-30 November and 5 December: Benjamin “Theses on the Philosophy of History” in:

Illuminations, pp.253-264.


Grading Policy Course requirements include: ONE TAKE-HOME ESSAY (30%), ONE FINAL ESSAY OF 10 PAGE LENGTH (60%). Class Particpation will account for the remaining 10% (in

some cases more given the quality of contributions). ATTENDANCE WILL BE NOTED AND STUDENTS WHO MISS 6 OR MORE CLASSES WILL BE DROPPED AT LEAST A FULL GRADE. Students will be expected to read the texts for each class and be prepared to discuss them. Since we will be discussing the language and form of each text we read, students will be expected to bring their texts to class for each session. Grades are assessed on a 4.0 scale as described in the undergraduate catalog.

Course & Instructor Policies

You cannot hope to pass this class if you do not attend it and complete all of the required work. I DO NOT ACCEPT LATE PAPERS. This course will be conducted according to strict codes of academic honesty. All cases of plagiarism will be fully investigated and the deliberate instances reported to the Dean of Students. Penalties for deliberate cheating may include failing the assignment in question, failing the course, or suspension and expulsion from the University. Students are expected to know the University’s policies and procedures on such matters, as well as those governing student services, conduct, and obligations.

Academic Integrity

The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work.

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts or omissions related to applications for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work or material that is not one’s own. As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or falsifying academic records. Students suspected of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for details). This course will use the resources of turnitin.com, which searches the web for possible plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.