Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL3002: Existentialism

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Luna Dolezal (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module offers a critical introduction to existentialism, one of the most influential philosophical and cultural movements of the twentieth century. Existentialism takes as its starting point an individual’s existence and claims that thinking about human existence requires new categories not found in the conceptual repertoire of ancient or modern thought. While there is no consistent doctrine or methodology within existentialist philosophy, there are a number of common themes and problems, which revolve particularly around the issues of radical freedom, authenticity and nihilism. This module will trace the origins and development of existentialism in the 19th and 20th centuries through several key philosophical, social and literary thinkers: Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Albert Camus. Existential themes that will be critically explored through philosophical and literary texts include: nothingness, existence, facticity, angst, dread, being, bad faith, responsibility, despair, the Other, death, alienation, mass society and essence. Related social and political themes will be explored, including the influence of existentialism on questions related to political resistance, gender, race and religion.

Module created


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