Phenomenology and Existentialism

Subject PHIL20041 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1-hour lectures each week and 1x 1-hour tutorial (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:

Subject Overview:

This subject is a study of classic texts and major themes in phenomenology and existentialism, a tradition that shaped continental European philosophy throughout much of the 20th century. This subject focuses on central figures in that tradition, such as Sartre, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Husserl. Themes to be discussed include the aims and methods of phenomenology, consciousness and perception, being-in-the world, our relation to others, authenticity, freedom and embodiment. On completion of the subject students should be able to engage in detailed exegesis of philosophical texts and to examine critically the philosophical arguments and views they contain.

Learning Outcomes:

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 take-home examination 50% (during the end of semester examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial 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:

Set readings for this subject will be available online

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
Social Theory
Social Theory
Social Theory Major

Download PDF version.