Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PHL 211
Course Title:
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Course Description

Investigates existential philosophy from the 19th Century to the present. Introduces different branches of existentialist thought and the influence existentialism had on philosophy, literature, and culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Includes existentialist philosophers such as, but are not limited to, some of the following: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus and Sartre. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

 Students completing this course should be able to:

  • Recognize and reflect on existential philosophers' contributions to contemporary intellectual history in order to effectively communicate with others concerning one€™s life goals and meaning.
  • Recognize and reflect on one€™s own place in existence and society using the frameworks developed by important existentialist philosophers in order to define one€™s responsibilities within a community.
  • Read and think critically about modern existential ideas in order to analyze existential arguments and discussions.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

 Assessment strategies will include some of the following:

  • Essays in the form of in-class exams, short papers, and term papers
  • Short-answer exams
  • Student presentations
  • Class and small group discussions
  • Reading Journals
  • Participation

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

 The course content will include some of the following themes:

  • Existential Anxiety
  • Existential Faith
  • Subjectivity
  • Nihilism
  • Existential Affirmation
  • Being and Time
  • Being and Nothingness
  • Existential Freedom and Responsibility