Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy: From Marx and Nietzsche to Habermas

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy: From Marx and Nietzsche to Habermas

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    German Culture, Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    This course is only available during spring semeser.

    Please note: FU-BEST9a (The Promise of German Philosophy: Kant to Hegel) & FU-BEST 9b (Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy: From Marx and Nietzsche to Habermas) can be taken either together, in a two-semester sequence, or separately and individually.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Philosophy has constituted a central element in the development of modern German culture. In the late eighteenth century, German philosophy participated in the broader European Enlightenment culture, which was in turn connected to the development of modern empirical science. Under the impression of the historical changes brought about by the French Revolution and by the 'Industrial Revolution' in Great Britain, a special constellation of German philosophy emerged at the end of the eighteenth century, which has deeply left its mark on subsequent philosophical thinking far beyond Germany.

    The two Philosophy courses offered by the FU-BEST program address the historical reality of German philosophy in two chronological parts: in the first part, offered during the Fall semester, we follow the emergence and full deployment of German philosophy from its Kantian beginnings to Hegel's grand but fragile synthesis, trying to understand its richness as well as its limitations. In the second part, offered during the Spring semester, we discuss the later development of German philosophy in the nineteenth century and its historical tragedy in the twentieth century. This will include a discussion of the links between Marx and Marxism, between Nietzsche and the German political/ideological right-wing, between the 'Vienna circle' and the scientific revolution of the early twentieth century, as well as between German academic philosophy and Nazism. Post-World War II developments in the field will be studied as pathways out of the destructive turn philosophy in Germany took in the first half of the twentieth century.

    Both courses will be based upon contemporary attempts at rethinking a global philosophical perspective - by focusing on the tension between the Enlightenment heritage of a universalizing human philosophy and a national culture project, as well as on the tension between classicist rationalism and romantic emotionalism in its construction as a series of philosophical projects. From the perspective of a German version of the dialectics of the Enlightenment, the German philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will be studied in context - combining the reading of key texts with a reconstruction of their historical contexts and their interaction.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations