From Nietzsche and Nihilism to Existentialism and Choice

GENINT 731.344

Osher (50+). In this course we discuss the ideas of Nietzche, Nihilism, and Existentialism.

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About this course:

In this course, we begin with Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), who was famous for uncompromising criticisms of traditional European social morality, political pieties, and religion. Nietzche found conventional philosophical ideas pedestrian, irrelevant, and detrimental to achieving humanity’s potential. We trace Nietzsche’s philosophy, from his first notion of nihilism through his developing concepts of Ubermensch (Overman) and Untermensch (Underman) to his tragic encounter in the Piazza Carlo Alberto and how it revealed his ultimate philosophical position. We see the full spectrum of his philosophy and how his ideas were a precursor to Existentialism. From there, we progress to Existentialism itself and what it offers philosophically, with special emphasis on its notion of choice; from its beginning to the contemporary use of existentialism with a small "e." Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker!

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