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Advanced History of Philosophy: 19th Century Philosophy




Admissions requirements

History of Philosophy is required. Depending on the specific focus of the course each year, passing Philosophies of the World is recommended (but not required).


The purpose of Advanced History of Philosophy courses is to allow students to zoom in on important periods in the history of philosophy that they only got a taste of in History of Philosophy or Philosophies of the World. From year to year, the subtitle will shift as the course focuses on different periods. In this particular offering, we will be reading and discussing the work of the greatest thinkers in the 19th century European tradition. Each of these thinkers has tried to understand what human life can and should amount to in our modern world. We shall explore such topics as: the loss of faith in a secularized world, the possibility of commitment, nihilism, the place of the individual in society, the possibility of authentic existence, the nature of progress and human development, and the limitations of morality in determining how we should act. Students should be prepared for extensive reading, thinking, and writing, as well as active participation and engagement with the readings in the classroom, if they would like to do well in this course.

Course objectives

By the end of this course students should:

  • Be familiar with the major trends of a specific period in the history of philosophy.

  • Be capable of critically reflecting on and distinguishing between key types of philosophical argumentation.

  • Be able to comprehend the relevance of the past to their understanding of the present, while becoming more familiar with their own assumptions and values.

  • Have cultivated a set of reading, writing, and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and other people in an informed and conscientious manner.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Each teaching week of the course will consist of two 2-hour interactive discussions on the weekly topic, with reading to be completed prior to the meeting. This course depends heavily on group discussion of significant primary texts. Each class will begin with the instructor introducing the key issues and readings for that day and offering an interpretation of the works being discussed. Students should join in the discussion at any time, asking questions, making suggestions, or making comparisons with other texts we have read. For each meeting, each student should mark out a short passage (1-3 sentences) from the day’s reading that especially stood out.


  • Participation and attentiveness in classroom discussions is worth 18% of the overall course grade. This will be assessed throughout the course, and is meant to encourage constructive and active engagement with course materials and fellow students.

  • A 300-word reflection will be due in four different weeks, and each will be worth 6% of the overall course grade (totaling 24%). These will help to assess the capacity to articulate questions, concepts, and arguments based on individual engagement with course readings.

  • One “midterm” essay will be worth 18% of the overall course grade. This will encourage analysis of concepts covered in the course, and force students to express their ideas clearly and organize them coherently

  • One final in-class short answer/essay exam will be worth 40% of the overall course grade. This will encourage a clear comprehension of objective course content.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Required texts:

  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. 1977. Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by A. V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kierkegaard, Søren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to “Philosophical Fragments,” 2 volumes. Translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. (the second volume is suggested, but not required)

Others available online


  • A. Buben, Meaning and Mortality in Kierkegaard and Heidegger: Origins of the Existential Philosophy of Death


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact



If I say texts are required, I mean it. Do not wait until this class begins to see if I am serious. Show up on the first day with the required books.