Pessimism, Despair, and Hope (PHI4245.01)

Paul Voice

The pessimist Arthur Schopenhauer writes, “In the first place, no man is happy but strives his whole life long after a supposed happiness which he seldom attains, and even if he does it is only to be disappointed with it.” What is the right attitude to the human condition? This advanced level course examines this question through the writings of philosophers who directly confront our vulnerability and the precariousness of our existence. Among others we will explore writings by Arthur Schopenhauer, Soren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus, Gabriel Marcel, Simone Weil, Elaine Scarry, Susan Sontag, and David Benatar.

Learning Outcomes:
In this course you will:
- Read texts closely (Inquire and Research)
- Analyze and criticize arguments (Inquire and Research)
- Further develop your analytical essay writing skills (Research and Communicate)

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy and/or permission of instructor (contact
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Philosophy