Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > UW Tacoma Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Amos Nascimento
Tacoma Campus

History of Philosophy: Modern and Contemporary

Examines idealism, pragmatism, and existentialism in historical context to discover ways in which they are responses to past ideas and ways in which they are new. Focuses on the way issues in philosophy remain the same even as ways of thinking about them change.

Class description

This version of the course focuses on two thinkers that mark the transition from modern European philosophy to contemporary German thinking: Immanuel Kant and Juergen Habermas. The course provides a historical overview of German Idealism and a general context to contemporary Critical Theory, introduces key concepts and positions by Kant and Habermas, and analyzes how Kantian transcendental philosophy in Germany influenced the frankfurt School and contemporary social thinking in a global perspectvive.

Student learning goals

1. Study Idealism as an important trend in “modern philosophy”

2. Learn key concepts of Kant’s transcendental philosophy;

3. Understand the context for the emergence of critical theory;

4. Focus on Habermas’s ideas and his contribution to critical theory;

5. Analyze the influence of Kant’s idealism on Habermas views on globalization.

General method of instruction

1. Reading of required and complementary texts; 2. Participation in dialogue and other activities; 3. Journaling; 4. Completion of homework assignments, quizzes and tests; 5. A final research paper of approximately 10 pages (2,500 words).

Recommended preparation

1. Interest in philosophy, history, and science; 2. General knowledge about the history of philosophy; 3. Good reading and writing skills; * Interested students can start by checking Roger Scruton's book: "Kant: A very short introduction" (Oxford UP, 2001) * Besides the recommended books, there are also websites: On Kant: On Habermas:

Class assignments and grading

1. Journaling (5%); 2. Paper project/interview (5%); 3. Homework assignments (10%); 4. Participation (20%); 5. Presentation (20%); 6. Tests (20%); and 7. Final paper (20%).

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Amos Nascimento
Date: 02/23/2009