This course is an intensive, combined lecture-seminar course on the early phenomenological philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (up through Being and Nothingness (1943) and Self-Consciousness and Self-Knowledge (1948)).
We will cover Sartre’s seminal early contributions to phenomenological psychology, The Transcendence of the Ego, The Imagination, The Imaginary, and Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions as well as substantial sections of Being and Nothingness and a few other, smaller texts.
For context, we will consider Sartre’s appropriation of and variations on themes from Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Bergson, Husserl, and Heidegger as well as Freud, Janet, the Gestalt psychologists and the psychologists of the Würzburg school.
But our main task will be to relate Sartre’s early work to contemporary debates in analytic philosophy of mind and cognitive science, in particular, debates about the structure of consciousness and self-consciousness, about the self, about the nature of intentional content, about the experience of space, time, and embodiment, about emotion, and about the role of imagination and counterfactual thinking in our cognitive economy.
Assignments A (“Studienleistungen”): Students are strongly encouraged to attend lectures and participate in seminar discussions. They are required to take a general essay examination over the course material at the end of the course.
Assignments B “(Modulabschluss”): The instructor encourages students to submit terms papers on the topic articulating and evaluating one of these Sartrean themes in the light of relevant contemporary work in the philosophy of mind or cognitive science. Term papers will be valid for completion of all the modules the seminar is listed in (26-HM_TP4_SP, 26-HM_TP8_GTP, 26-HM_TP8_GTP, 26-VT_PDG).
Throughout, the instructor will provide guidance on relevant primary and secondary literature vis-à-vis the research paper. The language of instruction will be English. Assignments may be completed in English or French.