English CRI 200C - Fall, 2017

Class Information

Instructor: Shershow, Scott
Time: W 3:10-6:00
Location: 308 Voorhies


    In this course we will read a relatively small number of texts closely with particular interest in fundamental questions of political and ethical philosophy. First we’ll follow the classical theory of right from Hobbes and Rousseau to the totalizing synthesis of Hegel and the critique of Marx. In the last few weeks we’ll follow a chain of texts from Nietzsche through Heidegger and Derrida, focusing among other things on the possibility of a critical nihilism.

    Tentative Reading List:

    Derrida, “Ethics and Politics Today,” “Declarations of Independence.”
    Hobbes, Leviathan
    Rousseau, The Social Contract
    Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
    Hegel, The Philosophy of Right
    Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, part one, and “Theses on Feuerbach”
    Nietzsche, The Gay Science
    Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche: Nihilism.”
    Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”


    Evaluation will be based on class participation, weekly ungraded response papers, and a concluding term paper, in which students can, if they wish, bring their own research interests to bear on the course readings.


    Leviathan, Hobbes
    The Social Contract, Rousseau
    Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals , Kant
    The Philosophy of Right, Hegel
    Other texts as electronic reserves