March 30, 2022

PHIL 217: Phenomenology & Existentialism - Fall 2022

P. Barron PHIL 217 Phenomenology & Existentialism, Phillip Barron

Currently, I am a pre-doctoral fellow at Lewis & Clark College, while I am writing my dissertation to complete a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. I work on issues of meaning and personal identity through Philosophy of Language and Aesthetics, combining these interests by focusing on the literary arts. My research interests includecontemporary phenomenology, philosophy of mind, Daoism, Zen (especially nonclassical logics), Latin American philosophy, and sub-Saharan African philosophy (especially from Ghana).

I am also a poet. As a practicing artist, I respect empirical data on what communities of artists actually do - to balance out philosophers’ tendency toward armchair theorizing about art. In 2011, I founded and edited the poetry journal OccuPoetry, anthologizing poetry and art of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

During my free time, I love to cook, bike, read, and hike—sometimes all in the same day.

Course Description:

This course focuses on the philosophical schools known as phenomenology and existentialism. Phenomenology, as we will see, is an attempt to formalize ways of understanding the shared experience of the world, while existentialism refers to a collection of philosophies focused on themes of freedom, anguish, dread, meaning, responsibility, embodied agency, sociality, and liberation. This is a class about us, because, to paraphrase Martin Heidegger, a person is a being for whom one’s being is an issue.

In this way, both phenomenology and existentialism focus on the possibility of meaning in human life and experience. We will make some sense of the questions and problems that, as human beings, we are confronted with by reading classic existentialist texts of the European and African diasporic philosophical traditions.