COLL-E 103 12291 Theism, Atheism, and Existentialism (Levene) (A&H) (3 cr.)

2:30 PM 3:20 PM MW

See Schedule of Classes for DIS 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 to include Pascal, Spinoza, Lessing, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus.