Notes on Introduction to Philosophy -- Phil A201

William Jamison - Instructor

Lecture 11

Eleventh lecture notes for Introduction to Philosophy:

Slide 1:


Studying the following philosopher may be dangerous for your mental health!

Slide 2:

Søren Kierkegaard 1813-1855

born in Copenhagen, Denmark

studied theology and philosophy at University of Copenhagen, (Hegelian philosophy)

ceased to practice Lutheranism and led an extravagant social life, becoming a familiar figure in the theatrical and café society of Copenhagen.

father's death - 1838, resumed theology

1840 -41 engaged to 17-year-old Regine Olson

Slide 3:


realized he did not want to be a Lutheran pastor

inheritance from his father allowed him to devote himself entirely to writing the remaining 14 years of his life

Stages on life's way:

aesthetic (hedonist)

ethical (Agamemnon)

religious (Abraham)

Slide 4:


suspension of the ethical allows Abraham to achieve an authentic commitment to God.

To avoid ultimate despair, the individual must make a similar "leap of faith" into a religious life, which is inherently paradoxical, mysterious, and full of risk. One is called to it by the feeling of dread, which is ultimately a fear of nothingness.

Sickness Unto Death - suffering as the essence of authentic faith.

Slide 1:

Jean Paul Sartre 1905-80

Studied at University of Fribourg in Switzerland and French Institute in Berlin

1940-41 imprisoned by the Germans

teaches at Neuilly and Paris, and active in the French Resistance

in 1943 German authorities, unaware of his underground activities, permitted the production of his antiauthoritarian play The Flies (1943) and the publication of his Being and Nothingness

Slide 2:


active after 1947 as an independent Socialist, critical of both the USSR and the US in the cold war years.

Sartre rejected 1964 Nobel Prize in literature, explaining that to accept such an award would compromise his integrity as a writer.

Some other works:

Nausea (1938)

No Exit (1944)

Slide 3:

Being and Nothingness

human existence is characterized by nothingness, that is, by the capacity to negate and rebel.

freedom and acceptance of personal responsibility are the main values in life.

recognition of one's absolute freedom of choice the necessary condition for authentic human existence.

Next lecture


This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated July 10, 2016. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.