Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Philosophical Theories of Modernity

PHGA7672 Philosophical Theories of Modernity
Dr. J. A. Gosetti-Ferencei
Tuesdays, 4:30–6:30 pm

Course Description

This course is devoted to examining how critical accounts of modernity constitute a significant theme in the Continental philosophy since German Romanticism, in particular among philosophers of the late 19th to mid- 20th centuries, and to uncovering a common thread of inquiry among phenomenological, existential, hermeneutic, and critical theoretical approaches in both German and French traditions.  While in the last several decades modernity has been considered primarily from the vantage point of post-modernism, some essential but of late neglected texts from the modern tradition itself may be fruitfully revisited.  Through readings by Hölderlin, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Bergson, Simmel, Weber, Hofmannsthal, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, along with essays by Foucault and other more recent thinkers, we will inquire into the various configurations of modernity and accounts of its meaning; ask what is meant by the crisis of modern rationality and modern ‘disenchantment’; and examine the correlation of critical philosophical responses to modernity with the rise of ‘modernism’ in literature, aesthetics, and the arts.   

Seminar presentation
20-25 page research paper

Major Readings Include:
Hölderlin, Theoretical Writings; Hyperion
Kierkegaard, The Present Age
Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations
Simmel, The Philosophy of Money
Weber, selections in From Max Weber
Heidegger, The Principle of Reason
Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays
and selections from Hofmannsthal, Bergson, Adorno, Benjamin, and Foucault (reader)

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