Existential Detective Fiction I: Foundations of Fate and Freedom

This class looks at how humans attempt to gain meaning for their lives in ways that oscillate between logics of fate and freedom, logics that unfold in narrative form through detective fictions and their deterministic chains of causal events, and existential fictions, which emphasize human freedom in a meaningless world. This eight week series sets up the basic logic of the course, moving through different thinkers whose understandings of meaning, fate, and freedom allow us to reflect on how we consider our own lives. It also explores the necessity of questioning the space of the human heart as an undeterminable impulse in our lives.

Class outline:

1: The Tragic Dimension of the Human Condition  (Sophocles, Oedipus Rex)
2: Doubt and Determinism (Fichte, The Vocation of Man: Book I)
3: Knowledge and the Loneliness of the “I” (Fichte, The Vocation of Man: Book II)
4: Faith and Vocation (Fichte, The Vocation of Man: Book III)
5: The Impossibility of Perfect Justice (Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder: Intro and Spanish Blood)
6: Anguish and Nothingness (Sartre, Being and Nothingness: Chapter I)
7: Dreams and the Unconscious (Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams)
8: Oedipus Re(du)x (Revisiting Sophocles in light of the above)

 

Week I: The Tragic Dimension of the Human Condition

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Week II: Doubt and Determinism

Apologies about the sound quality, it shouldn’t happen again.

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Week III: Knowledge and the Loneliness of the “I”

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Week IV: Faith and Vocation

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Week V: The Impossibility of Perfect Justice

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Week VI: Anguish and Nothingness

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Week VII: Dreams and the Unconscious

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Week VIII: Oedipus Re(du)x

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