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Course Detail

Course Name Continental Thought
Course Code 21PHL602
Program M.A. in Philosophy
Semester Three
Credits 4


Unit I

Historical Background to Continental Philosophy: Kant’s transcendental idealism; Hegel’s absolutism; Marx’s dialectical materialism; Nietzsche’s Nihilism.

Unit II

Phenomenology: Husserl and the idea of phenomenological reduction; intentionality principle; presuppositionless philosophy; anti=psychologism; suspension of natural attitude; idectic reduction and transcendental reduction; transcendental phenomenology and transcendental subject.

Unit III

Heidegger’s idea of Being and dasein; worldhood of the world; being-in the world; being-with; being-in as such; the role of understanding in the existence of dasein; temporality and truth; the concept of authenticity; death.

Unit IV

Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics; historical understanding; linguisticality of understanding; criticism of Schleiermacher’s and Dilthey’s hermeneutics; overcoming the epistemological problem; the role of tradition in understanding meaning; rehabilitation of prejudices.
Habermas and unfinished project of modernity; criticism of hermeneutics; discourse ethics – “On the Pragmatic, the Ethical and the Moral Employment of Practical Reason.”

Unit V

Levinas: ethics as First Philosophy; critique of the history of Western philosophy as Totalization; Notion of Totality, Infinity, transcendence; notion of alterity; Primacy of the other, Asymmetrical responsibility, Substitution
Derrida: the idea of deconstruction; margins of philosophy; difference.
Postmodernism: Critique of rationality, truth and metanarratives; Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition.

Course Overview

“Continental Thought” is a course offered to S3 MA Philosophy students. This course provides the students with a knowledge on the basic themes in Continental Philosophy. After a brief survey of enlightenment philosophy, with a focus on the thoughts of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche it will examine the phenomenological tradition where the idea of presupposition less philosophy is examined and the philosophies of Husserl, Heidegger and Gadamer are analysed. It then examines the Critical Theory movement with more focus on Habermas’ works.

Course Outcomes

CO1: This course will familiarize the students with some key ideas of some thinkers who shaped continental philosophy as well as outline its important characteristic features.
CO2: This will help students to conceptually situate and understand some important theoretical issues and problems that shape the nature of contemporary debates taking place in social, political and cultural realms.


1. Bowie, Andrew. 2003. Introduction to German Philosophy: From Kant to Habermas. Cambridge: Polity Press.
2. Critchley, Simon. 2001. Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
3. Davis, Colin. Levinas: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996.
4. Sartre, Jean Paul. 1946. Existentialism is a Humanism.
5. Geuss, Raymond. 1981.The Idea of a Critical Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6. Glendinning, Simon. 2006. The Idea of Continental Philosophy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
7. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 2004. Truth and Method. Translated by Joel Weinsheimer, Donald G Marshall. United Kingdom: Continuum.
8. Grondin, Jean. 1994. Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics. Yale University Press.
9. Gorner, Paul. 2000. Twentieth-Century German Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University press.
10. Habermas, Jürgen. (1987). The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. MIT Press.
11. Heidegger, Martin. 1996. Being and Time. A Translation of “Sein und Zeit”. Translated by Joan Stambaugh (7th ed.). Albany, New York: SUNY Press.
12. Husserl, Edmund. The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970
13. Kenny, Anthony (2007). A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume IV: Philosophy in the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press.
14. Kant, Immanuel. 2009. Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
15. Levinas, Emmanuel. Totality and Infinity: an Essay on Exteriority. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. 1969. Reprint, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1994.
16. Levinas, Emmanuel. Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. 1974. Reprint. Dordrecht: MartinusNihjoff Publishers, 1974.
17. Levinas, Emmanuel. Ethics and Infinity: Conversations with Philippe Nemo. Translated by Richard A. Cohen. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985.
18. Llwelyn, John. Emmanuel Levinas: The Geneology of Ethics. London: Routledge, 1995.
19. Morgan, Michael L. The Cambridge Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
20. O’Connor, Brian and Georg Mohr. 2006. German Idealism: An Anthology and Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
21. O’Hear, Anthony. ed. 2010. German Philosophy since Kant (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
22. Nietzsche, F. 2010. Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. United Kingdom: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
23. Peperzak, Adriaan. To the Other: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Indiana: Purdue Research Foundation, 1993.

CO – PO Affinity Map



CO1 3 3 3 1
CO2 3 3 3 1

3 – strong, 2- moderate, 1 – weak

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