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Nietzsche and Heidegger

  • Module code: PH7803
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module offers students an opportunity to study major works by Nietzsche and Heidegger. In particular it considers the relationship between Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics as the manifestation of an ascetic 'will to truth' and Heidegger's project of 'dismantling' and 'overcoming' metaphysics in light of a renewal of the question of being.

Aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of the distinctive features, issues and problems of Nietzsche's and Heidegger's philosophies through knowledge of key texts, informed by critical awareness of current debates in the field.
  • Enable students to distinguish the philosophical agendas at stake in the Nietzschean and Heideggerian conceptions of truth, being, time, metaphysics and nihilism.
  • Assess the link between Heidegger's conception of ontology, his critique of metaphysics and his critique of fundamental Nietzschean concepts like the will to power and eternal recurrence.
  • Enable students to assess competing interpretations of Nietzsche's philosophical legacy.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand several distinctive and fundamental features of Nietzsche and Heidegger's philosophies, informed by critical awareness of current debates in the field.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of major issues in the history of the reception of Nietzsche's work, primarily in a European context.
  • Reflect on and discuss problems relating to Nietzsche and Heidegger's philosophical legacies.
  • Undertake the work of close textual analysis of demanding philosophical texts.
  • Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments in the context of the history of philosophy.

Curriculum content

The module falls into two roughly equal parts, and includes:

  • Study of key texts by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), situated in terms of his relation to the philosophy of Kant and Schopenhauer
  • Discussion of Nietzsche's theories of knowledge and truth, his critique of morality and religion, and his metaphysics of will to power.
  • Study of Heidegger's central work, Being and Time (1927), paying particular attention to sections on time, finitude, the everyday, death, fate, and repetition.
  • Assessment of Heidegger's critical reading of Nietzsche, and of his interpretation of the concepts of eternal return and nihilism.
  • Consideration of the relationship between Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics as the manifestation of an ascetic 'will to truth', and Heidegger's project of 'dismantling' and 'overcoming' metaphysics in light of a renewal of the question of being.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be taught by means of a mix of lectures and seminars, supplemented by individual tutorials and private study. Emphasis is placed on seminar-based discussion.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars/lectures: 10 taught sessions (2.5 hours each) 25
Scheduled learning and teaching Group and individual tutorials (one scheduled hour plus office hours). 1
Guided independent study Directed and Independent Learning 274
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to test a student's ability to meet the module's learning outcomes. Summative assessment involves two pieces of written work:

  • A 1,500-word exercise, normally submitted at or before the mid-way point of the module, worth 20% of the final mark.
  • A 3,500 to 4,000 word essay, worth 80% of the final mark.

The skills required to prepare these assessed elements will be developed in a variety of formative activities throughout the module, notably through class discussion, feedback on in-class presentations, and individual tutorials. Preparation of the final essay normally includes a scheduled tutorial with the module tutor.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Understand several distinctive and fundamental features of Nietzsche and Heidegger's philosophies, informed by critical awareness of current debates in the field. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Demonstrate a critical awareness of major issues in the history of the reception of Nietzsche's work, primarily in a European context. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Reflect on and discuss problems relating to Nietzsche and Heidegger's philosophical legacies. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Undertake the work of close textual analysis of demanding philosophical texts. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments in the context of the history of philosophy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Exercises 1500 words 20
Coursework Essay 3500 to 4000 words 80
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, Ed. Walter Kaufmann, Vintage, 1967.
______, Twilight of the Idols, Tr. R. J. Hollingdale, Penguin, 1990
______, On the Genealogy of Morality and Other Writings, Ed. and Trans. K. A. Pearson, C. Diethe, R. Geuss, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, Tr. E. Macquarrie and J. Robinson, Blackwell, 1962.
______, 'The Word of Nietzsche: God is Dead' in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. Trans. William Lovitt, New York, Harper & Row, 1977
______, Nietzsche. Vol. II: The Eternal Recurrence of the Same; Vol. IV: Nihilism, Ed.  D. F. Krell, Harper San Francisco, 1991.  

Bibliography recommended reading

Keith Ansell-Pearson and Howard Caygill (Eds.), The Fate of the New Nietzsche, Avebury, 1993

Fink, Eugen, Nietzsche's Philosophy [1960], trans. G. Richter. London. Continuum, 2003.

Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, Trans. H. Tomlinson, Continuum, 2005.

Dreyfus, Hubert. Being-in-the-World. Cambridge: MIT, 1991.

Kaufmann, Walter. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Princeton: Princeton  University Press, 4th edition, 1974.

Kisiel, Theodore. The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time. Berkeley: University of California, 1995.

Klossowski, Pierre. Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle [1969], trans. D.W. Smith. London: Athlone, 1997.

Löwith, Karl. Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same [1935/1956], trans. H. Lomax. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Mulhall, Stephen. Heidegger on Being and Time. London: Routledge, 1996.

Schacht, Richard, Nietzsche. London: Routledge, 1983.

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