Seminars by Professors Visiting the University of Chicago

Below you will find a list of seminars on topics in German Philosophy on offer during the coming academic year that will be taught by visiting professors at the University of Chicago.

Autumn Quarter 2019

PHIL 35707 (SCTH 35706) The Different Senses of Being

Aristotle states that “being is said in many ways,” we shall seek to understand this statement and to study the history of its interpretations. Among the modern authors we shall discuss are Franz Brentano, Ernst Tugendhat, Charles Kahn, Aryeh Kosman, Stephen Menn, David Charles. I. Kimhi

Undergrads by permission of instructor only.

Spring Quarter 2020

PHIL 37322 (FNDL 27322, SCTH 37322, PLSC 37322) “Jerusalem and Athens” – on the Conflict between Revelation and Philosophy

This course will be taught the first five weeks of the quarter.

I shall discuss the subject on the basis of 4 lectures Leo Strauss gave on “Jerusalem and Athens” and “Reason and Revelation” in the period 1946-1967. H. Meier

Open to undergrads by consent only. 

Academic Year 2018-19

Spring Quarter 2019

PHIL 55606. The Concept of Anxiety.

Anxiety is discussed in modern philosophy as a mood or feeling which reveals ‘nothing’. The class will be devoted to the modern philosophical discourse on “anxiety” and “nothing”. Among the texts that we shall study are: Kierkegaard’s ‘The concept of Anxiety’, Heidegger’s ‘Introduction to Metaphysics’, and Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothingness’. We shall also compare the philosophical concern with anxiety/nothing with the discussion of anxiety in psychoanalysis, especially in Lacan’s Seminar ‘Anxiety’ i.e., seminar 10. I. Kimhi

 

SCTH 37321.  Leo Strauss: Natural Right and History.

This seminar will be taught during the first five weeks of the term (April 1-May1, 2019)

Natural Right and History (1953) has been the most widely received among the works of Leo Strauss. Originally presented as the Charles R. Walgreen lectures that Strauss delivered shortly after he had joined the University of Chicago in 1949, Natural Right and History became the book for the school Strauss founded. In order to come to an adequate understanding of philosophy, of its right and its necessity, Strauss confronts the critique of natural right and responds to the challenge to philosophy put forward by historicism. The question of the right life is the guiding thread of an investigation that reaches from Heidegger back to the beginning of philosophy in the discovery of nature.

I shall present a new reading of Natural Right and History, focusing on the first 4 chapters, discussing the philosophical intention and the political impact of this seminal book that laid the foundation of the “Straussian School.” H. Meier

 

Winter Quarter 2019

PHIL 51830. Topics in Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy: Nietzsche on Morality, Suffering, and the Value of Life.

Nietzsche objects to Judeo-Christian morality (and its ‘ascetic’ analogues in non-Western traditions) because he argues it is a fatal obstacle to certain kinds of human flourishing and cultural excellence. This is closely connected to his opposition to Schopenhauer’s pessimistic view that the inescapable fact of suffering renders life without value (a life without human excellence would, on Nietzsche’s view, lack value). These issues (and others, e.g., the nature of philosophy and tragedy, the conception of Dionysus) have antecedents in his early work as a scholar of antiquity and the influence of his Basel colleague, the important historian Jacob Burckhardt. Roughly the first five sessions will be devoted to reconstructing the “mature” Nietzsche’s view, as represented by the Genealogy, but also excerpts from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil, Twilight of the Idols, and Ecce Homo. The remaining four sessions of the seminar will explore the historical background, in Greek literature and philosophy, the reception of Greek culture in German philosophy, and in the seminal work of his colleague Burckhardt. The ultimate goal is to reconstruct Nietzsche’s view from a philosophical point of view and, as importantly, in light of the historical context. Open to philosophy PhD students without permission and to others with permission; those seeking permission should e-mail Leiter with a resume and a detailed description of their background in philosophy (not necessarily in the study of Nietzsche). In the event of demand, preference will be given to J.D. students with the requisite philosophy background. M. Forster; B. Leiter

Autumn Quarter 2018

Social Thought 50212. Expressivism/Historicism/Hermeneutics. 

Since the second half of the 18th century and in opposition to utilitarian or moral forms of rationalism mostly German thinkers developed an understanding a human action as expression (names “expressivism” by Charles Taylor). This became the basis both for a specific understanding of language, texts, and symbols in general (“hermeneutics”) and of human history (“historicism”). In this class crucial texts from this tradition will be read and discussed: from Herder, Kleist and Schleiermacher via Dilthey and Troeltsch to Gadamer and the present. H. Joas