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Philosophy (PHIL) Courses

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PHIL 216.00 Nietzsche and Foucault: History, Truth, and Power 6 credits

Open: Size: 25, Registered: 16, Waitlist: 0

Leighton 330


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Synonym: 49468

Claire M Griffin

Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for his scathing criticisms of both conventional morality and academic philosophy. He developed a mode of historical research, genealogy, which takes a perspective “beyond good and evil” in order to expose our moral ideals (including altruism, personal responsibility, and equality) as the products of contingent historical formations and struggles for power. Michel Foucault, writing in the second half of the twentieth century, submitted the values of ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’ (in diverse areas of the human sciences including mental illness, criminology, and sexuality) to a genealogical method modeled on that of Nietzsche. This course will be devoted to a comparative reading of Nietzsche and Foucault’s genealogical works and the relation of these to their larger philosophical systems. Our guiding questions will be: What is the nature of power? What is the nature and value of truth? What bearing do the histories of our normative and scientific claims have on their truth-value? What is the status, in all of this, of the critical perspective of the genealogist? Where do the insights of Nietzsche and Foucault leave us in our own attempts to lead meaningful lives?

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You must take 6 credits of each of these.
You must take 6 credits of each of these,
except Quantitative Reasoning, which requires 3 courses.
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