College of Arts and Sciences | Theism, Atheism, and Existentialism
E103 | 7751 | Levene


11:15 AM - 12:05 PM MW
See the Schedule of Classes for discussion section times.

This course is an introduction to some major thinkers in the modern
West through their views on faith and doubt. The modern period in
European philosophy and theology is usually considered to begin with
challenges to traditional religious world views, especially the
belief in God. While virtually all thinkers in this period continued
to express theistic beliefs, many nevertheless struggled openly with
what these beliefs entailed, setting the groundwork for arguments
against God's existence altogether and eventually stimulating the
creation of alternative ways of securing human meaning.

Throughout the course we will ask how various thinkers grappled with
inherited notions of reason, revelation, nature, tradition, good and
evil. What role did doubt, skepticism, and uncertainty play in
modern world views? How have these experiences been related to
faith? We will also ask about the very assumption that atheism
inaugurates modernity. What is the validity of this claim? Are there
other events, ideas, or experiences we might identify as uniquely
modern? How do terms such
as "enlightenment," "science," "freedom," "authority," and
the "self" determine how we characterize, and thus value, this
period? Authors include Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant,
Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus.