History of French Philosophy (PHIL-UA 9026)

An overview of important developments in French philosophy from the 16th century to the 1950s. We will look at the epistemological and metaphysical debates that followed the rediscovery of Ancient philosophy and the Copernican revolution, with Montaigne’s skepticism, Descartes’ rationalist theory of knowledge, and Condillac’s empiricism. We will then focus on developments in French political philosophy in the 18th and 19th centuries, closely intertwined with political events. We will read Rousseau, an important influence on the French revolutionaries, before turning to 19th-century debates about equality, with Proudhon’s anarchist criticism of property rights, and Tocqueville’s cautious liberal perspective on the political consequences of equality. Finally, we will look at two key movements in French philosophy in the first half of the 20th century, Bergson’s attempt at understanding the temporal duration conscious beings inhabit, and Sartre and de Beauvoir’s distinctive development of existentialism, a philosophy that grapples with the consequences of human freedom.

Philosophy (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Spring 2023)

PHIL-UA 9026-000 (8710)
01/26/2023 – 05/05/2023 Mon,Wed
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (Late afternoon)
at NYU Paris (Global)
Instructed by Lusson, Philippe