History And Existence
Course title History and Existence
Value 5 ECTS points
Availability Winter Semester
Prerequisites No former knowledge of the subject is required. Interest in theoretical issues is welcomed
Teacher dr Marcin Moskalewicz
Teaching method 30-hour seminar
Course description This is an interdisciplinary course designed for students of history, anthropology, philosophy and related disciplines. It examines the problem of historical existence, mainly human existence but not only. First, we will try to understand what it means to exist historically. For this reason, some philosophical questions would be addressed, like: What is existence? What is history? What is human? And especially – what is time? These are of our daily existential concern, yet we will discuss them from an academic perspective in order to arrive at possible conclusions. We would then think of how these conclusions relate to the study of the past in some academic disciplines, which come under the label of history. As history is about the dead people, we will address the issues of death and the dead. This would lead us to the question of the body, in particular the dead body. Finally, some other forms of existence will be discussed like those of animals and inanimate objects. The readings include some classic authors, as well as some contemporary and post-modern thinkers.
Assessment method Attendance is mandatory (three absences allowed). Everyone is expected to read the assigned articles or book chapters and to actively participate in the discussions. A final paper is also required (ca 10 pages). It should be written on a subject of student's choice, yet related to the issues addressed in the course. These projects should be consulted with me in advance.
Week 1 Overwiev of the course
Week 2 What is time? St. Augustine, Confessions, trans. H. Chadwick, Oxford 1998, chap. XI.
Week 3 The River of Time W. James, Psychology, Briefer Course, in: W. James, Writings 1878 – 1899, New York 1992, Chap. XI, The Stream of Consciousness, 152 – 173; Chap. XVII, The Sense of Time, 266 – 271. M. Heidegger, Within-time-ness and the Genesis of the Ordinary Conception of Time, in: Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie, E. Robinson, Oxford 1962, 472 – 480.
Week 4 The Relativity of Experienced Time D. Draaisma, Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older, How Memory Shapes Our Past, trans. A. Pomerans, E. Pomerans, Cambridge 2006, 172 – 225.
Week 5 The Temporal Hierarchy H. Arendt, Between Past and Future, New York 1968, 3 – 15; H. Arendt, The Life of the Mind, Vol. I Thinking, San Diego – New York – London 1978, 197 – 213.
Week 6 Different Temporalities Z. Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Cambridge 2000, 91 – 129.
Week 7 Existence and Death O. Marquard, The Question, to What Question is Hermeneutics the Answer? in: Farewell to the Matters of Principle, trans. R. M. Wallace, Oxford 1989, 111 – 120.
Week 8 History of Death P. Aries, Western Attitudes Toward Death, From the Middle Ages to the Present, trans. P.M. Ranum, 55 – 107.
Week 9 Death and the Body A. de Baets, A Declaration of Responsibilities of Present Generations Toward Past Generations, in: History and Theory 43 (2004), 130 – 164.
Week 10 The Meaning of History I. Kant, Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Perspective, trans. D. L. Colclasure, in: Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, New Haven and London 2006, 3 – 16.; K. Löwith, Nature, History and Existentialism, in: Social Research 19:1 (1952), 79 – 94.
Week 11 The Meaning of History II W. Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, in: Illuminations, ed. H. Arendt, New York 1968, 253 – 264.
Week 12 Temporality as an Object of Historical Research R. Koselleck, Futures Past, On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. K. Tribe, New York 2004, chap. 5, Begriffsgeschichte and Social History, 75 – 92; chap. 14, Space of Experience and Horizon of Expectations: Two Historical Categories, 255 – 275.
Week 13 Animal Existence D. Griffin, From Cognition to Consciousness, in: A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science and Ethics, ed. P. Waldau, K. Patton, 481 – 504.
Week 14 Existence of ThingsE. Domanska, The Return to Things, in: Archeologia Polona 44 (2006), 171 – 185.
Week 15 Credits