Phenomenology and Existentialism

Subject PHIL20041 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 (2x 1 hour lectures each week and 1x 1 hour tutorial in weeks 2-12)
Total Time Commitment:

An Average of 8.5 hours each week





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Any one of the following is recommended but not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Andrew Inkpin


Dr Andrew Inkpin

Subject Overview:

This subject is a study of some classic texts and major themes in the 20th century philosophical traditions of phenomenology and existentialism. Themes to be discussed will include consciousness and perception, being-in-the-world, freedom and embodiment, truth and evidence, the phenomenological method, and the meaning of transcendental philosophy. The main authors to be discussed will be selected from Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre and their texts will be discussed in the light of contemporary interpretation and criticism. On completion of the subject students should be able to engage in detailed exegesis of philosophical texts and to critically examine philosophical arguments and theses therein.


Students who successfully complete this subject will

  • have a general knowledge of the twentieth century phenomenological and existentialist traditions.
  • have a detailed knowledge of at least two phenomenological texts.
  • understand the critical discussion by commentators on those texts.

A written assignment of 2000 words 50% (due mid-semester), a 2-hour closed-book written examination 50% (held at the end of semester).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% turorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available at the start of semester.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should develop the following skills:

  • critical, creative thinking.
  • rigorous reasoning about fundamental issues.
  • reading with attention to detail.
  • simplicity and precision in written and oral presentations.
  • ability to relate methods, arguments and theses put forward by phenomenologists and existentialists to those in other philosophical traditions
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Philosophy
Philosophy Major
Related Breadth Track(s): History of Philosophy (Greek, Asian && Continental)

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