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PHILOS 4F03 Issues In Continental Philos

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Diane Enns

Email: ennsd@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 318

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27529


Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday, UH 318, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m (or by appointment)

Course Objectives:

Class time: Monday 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.


In this seminar we will investigate the theme of the self-other relation in the work of several 20th century French and German philosophers (phenomenologists). Our primary aim is to understand the nature of the self and of human social relations. We will discuss the need for recognition, autonomy, freedom, individuality and community, as well as our emotional responses to others, including empathy, love, hate, jealousy, and indifference. At the end of the term we will consider more recent work on the human to animal relation.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Edith Stein, On the Problem of Empathy

Essays accessed online


Method of Assessment:

1. 8 short weekly assignments, 300 – 400 words, 5% each = 40%

2. Final essay 3,500 – 4,500 words = 50%

3. Participation = 10%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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Modification of course outlines

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McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

September 12: Introduction

September 19: Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, “Fifth Meditation” (pdf on Avenue)

September 26: Stein, Ch. II, “The Essence of Acts of Empathy” On The Problem of Empathy

 pp. 3-35

October 3: Stein cont. Ch. III, “The Constitution of the Psycho-Physical Individual,” pp. 37-89


October 17: 1) Hegel, "B. Self-Consciousness, IV. The Truth of Self-Certainty"

                2) Sartre, "IV. The Look" (courseware)

October 24: Sartre, Ch. 3, "Concrete Relations with Others," (courseware)

October 31: Fanon, "The Fact of Blackness" (courseware)

November 7: Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity chs. I and II


November 14: Beauvoir cont., The Ethics of Ambiguity, ch. III

November 21: 1) Merleau-Ponty, "Preface" to Phenomenology of Perception, (courseware)

2) Merleau-Ponty, "The Primacy of Perception and its Philosophical Consequences," (courseware)

November 28: Merleau-Ponty, "Other Selves and the Human World," (courseware)

December 5: Derrida, “The Animal That Therefore I Am” (online)

                Michael Naas, “Derrida’s Flair” (online)

 Final Essay due, December 9, 12-2 pm. in UH 318

Other Course Information: