Faculty of Arts

PHIL 335

20th Century French Philosophy

Please note: this is archived course information from 2012 for PHIL 335.


We will study the development of 20th century French philosophy, focusing upon Vitalism, Existentialism, Evolutionism, Structuralism, Poststructuralism and Postmodernism. This will include the critical examination of the views of Henri Bergson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Teilhard de Chardin, Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Jean François Lyotard. A main goal will be to understand how, across the century, the foundations of French philosophising in the areas of metaphysics, ethics, social philosophy and literary theory shifted from a close attention to the lived qualities of individual experience, to a more social, language-centered understanding of people, as they stand within, and are significantly constituted by, historically variable social contexts. We will also explore how 20th century French philosophy embodied a revolutionary, anti-authoritarian spirit that was influenced significantly by the thought of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Robert Wicks


Jean-Paul Sartre, Essays in Existentialism (Citadel Press) Albert Camus, Myth of Sisyphus (Penguin Books) Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (Vintage)

Recommended Reading

These will be compiled in the Short Loan Materials section of the Main Library.


Coursework + exam


PHIL 335: 15.0 points


Any 30 points at Stage II in Philosophy, or EUROPEAN 100 and 15 points at Stage II in Philosophy


PHIL 215

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