Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

PHIL 304, Spring 2009

Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:15 p.m.

Revised Version.

Prof. Jacqueline Mariña

Department of Philosophy

Office:  BRNG 7134, 4-4833


Office Hours:  Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:00.

Description of Course:

This course will be an examination of philosophical movements in 19th century European and American philosophy, especially as represented by seminal figures such as Fichte, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Marx and William James.  Movements covered will be:  a) Post-Kantian Idealism in the context of the response to Kant’s Copernican Revolution in Philosophy (Fichte, Hegel) b) Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche) and c) Pragmatism (William James), as well as developments in political philosophy (Marx).

Required Texts:

1.The Vocation of Man: Die Bestimmung Des Menschen, by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, translated by Peter Preuss, Published by Hackett Publishing, 1987  ISBN 087220037X, 9780872200371.

2.G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), Reason in History [pub. 1837]ed. Robert S. Hartman (New York: Prentice Hall, 1953), ISBN: 0-02-351320-9.

3.Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Fear and Trembling [1843] (NY: Penguin Books, 1986), ISBN 0140444491.

4.Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Basic Writings of Nietzsche [1880s], trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Modern Library, 1992), ISBN 0-679-60000-0.

5.William James (1842-1910), Pragmatism [1907] (NY: Dover Publications, 1995), ISBN 0486282708.

These books are available at Follet’s, University Book Store, and Von’s.  A packet of required readings is also available at Copymat, and some of the materials are available on the web.

Course Requirements:

Quizzes and Class Participation (15%).  You are expected to attend every class and to participate in discussions.  Students will be penalized for excessive absences.  Unannounced quizzes may be given at any time, and will be factored into your class participation grade.

One paper (35%).  You will be required to write a paper (approx. 8-10 pages) that examines in further detail one of the issues or problems discussed in the course.  You may examine  any figure  we are covering in the course; however, you are expected to use both primary and secondary sources in your paper. I will be handing out a list of possible paper topics as well as guidelines for writing an academic essay later on in the course. 

Exams.  There will be an in-class mid-term (20%) and a much longer take-home final examination (30%). The exams will be comprehensive and will consist of essay questions. 

Tentative Course Outline and Readings:

Assignments and deadlines may be modified during the course of the semester.

I.  The Kantian Background: 

January 13th:  Introduction to the aims of the course; policies and procedures;

Kant and his influence. 

January 15th:  The Copernican Revolution in Philosophy. 

Please make sure to have read the preface to the B edition of the first Critique, course packet.  The older (Kemp-Smith) translation is available on-line at:  Scroll down to 017.

January 20th:Kant’s Reciprocity Thesis and the Fact of Reason.

Excerpts from Kant’s second Critique, course packet.

Paul W. Franks, All or Nothing Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 2005, pp. 265-276.

January 22nd:Freedom and the Law of Nature:  The Moral Law within and the Starry Heavens Above.  Excerpts from Kant’s second Critique, course packet.

Paul W. Franks, All or Nothing, pp. 276-298.

II.  Fichte:

January 27th:   Fichte:  The Vocation of Man.  Read editor’s introduction,

Forward, and Book One (Doubt).

Recommended:  Entry on Fichte, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

Rolf-Peter Horstmann, “The early philosophy of Fichte and Schelling” in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, pp.117-126.

January 29th: Fichte:  The Vocation of Man. Read Book Two (Knowledge).

February 3rd:  Fichte:  The Vocation of Man.  Read Book Three (Faith).

III.  Hegel:

February 5th:  Introduction to Hegel.

Please read:  Paul Guyer: “Absolute Idealism and The Rejection of Kantian Dualism,” pp. 37-56, in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Robert Pippin:  “Hegel’s Practical Philosophy:  The Realization of Freedom,” pp. 180-199, in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism.  Both essays are on reserve.

Recommended: “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel” at:

February 10th:Hegel:  Reason in History, pp. 3-19.

Recommended:  editor’s introduction, pp. ix-xl.

February 12th:Hegel: Reason in History, pp. 20-49.

February 17th:Hegel: Reason in History, pp.49-67.

February 19th:Hegel: Reason in History, pp. 68-95.

IV.  Marx:

February 24th:   Introduction to Marx

Please read: “Karl Marx” at:

Recommended: Jeffrey Reiman ,“Moral philosophy: the critique of capitalism and the problem of ideology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Marx, pp. 143-167. On reserve. 

February 26th: Please read:  From the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: “Estranged labor,” pp. 106-119; “Private Property and Communism,” pp. 132-146; “Critique of the Hegelian  Dialectic and Philosophy as a Whole,” pp. 170-193 (these essays can be found in the course packet).

March 3rd: Catch up and Review.


March 10th: From  Marxism: Essential Writings (ed. David McClellan) please read:  “The Materialist Concept of History,” from the German Ideology, pp. 3-20 (course packet).

March 12th: Please read:  “The Communist Manifesto,” and “The Destiny of Capitalism” pp. 49-61 (course packet).

First paper due.

SPRING BREAK:  Week of March 16th through March 21st.

V: Kierkegaard:

March 24th:  Introduction to Kierkegaard. 

Please read:  Karl Ameriks, “The Legacy of Idealism  in the Philosophy of Feuerbach, Marx, and Kierkegaard,” in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, pp. 258-281. On reserve. 

Also read:  “Søren Kierkegaard,” at:

March 26th:Please read: 

Fear and Trembling:  Introduction (pp. 7-37), and pp. 41-95, which includes Problema I: “Is there a Teleological Suspension of the Ethical?”

Recommended: Ronald M. Green “Developing" Fear and Trembling,” and M. Jamie Ferreira, “Faith and the Kierkegaardian leap” in The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, (on reserve). 

March 31st:             Please read:  Fear and Trembling:  “Is there an Absolute Duty towards God?” pp. 96-108.

April 2nd: Please read:  Fear and Trembling: Was It Ethically Defensible for

Abraham to Conceal His Undertaking...?” pp. 109-147.

April 7th: Catch up.

VI:  Nietzsche

April 9th:Introduction to Nietzche

Please read: “Friedrich Nietzsche,”at:

Please also read: Nietzsche, Basic Writings, Human, All-Too-Human, 45, 92, 96 and Nietzsche, Basic Writings, Beyond Good and Evil (esp. the following:  Book 1: 1, 3, 6, 17, 19, 21, 23; Book 2: 24, 26, 32, 34, 36; Book 3: 61, 62; Book 5: 186, 187, 188, 191, 199, 201, 202; Book 6: 206-207, 211, 212, 213; Book 7: 214, 218, 220, 221, 225, 228, 229, 231, Book 8: 242

Recommended:  Robert C. Solomon,  “Nietzsche's Ad Hominem arguments: perspectivism, slave morality and ressentiment  revisited,” in The Cambridge Companion to Nietzche, on reserve. 

April 14th: Nihilism:  Ressentiment and Bad-Conscience:  Nietzsche, Basic Writings, Geneology of Morals:  pp. 451-515.

April 16th: Nihilism:  Bad-Conscience and Ascetic Ideal: Nietzsche, Basic Writings, Geneology of Morals: pp. 516-599.

VII:  William James

April 21th: Introduction to Pragmatism and William James

Please read:  “William James,” at

Pragmatism, Lectures I and II (pp. 1-32).

April 23rd: Pragmatism, Lectures III and IV (pp. 33-62).

April 28th: Pragmatism, Lectures V and VI, (pp. 63-91).

Recommended:  Hilary Putnam, “James’ Theory of Truth,” in The Cambridge Companion to James, on reserve. 

April 30th:Pragmatism, Lectures VII and VIII, (pp. 92-116).

Books on Reserve at the Undergraduate Library:

Paul W. Franks, All or Nothing:  Systematicity, Transcendental Arguments, and Skepticism in German Idealism, Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 2005.

The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, edited by Karl Ameriks, Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2000.

The Cambridge Companion to Hegel, edited by Frederick Beiser, Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1993.

The Cambridge Companion to William James, edited by Ruth Anna Putnam, Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1997.

The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, edited by Alistair Hannay and Gordon D. Marino, Cambridge: Cambridge Univerisity Press, 1997.

The Cambridge Companion to Marx, edited by Terrell Carver, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, edited by Kathleen Marie Higgins and Bernd Magnus, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

In the event of a campus emergency, the syllabus is subject to change.