Nineteenth Century
Continental Philosophy
Philosophy 44
2:30 - 3:50 MTh Peter Suber
Carpenter Hall 323 Fall 1998-99


Fichte Hegel Feuerbach Marx Engels Kierkegaard Nietzsche

The required reading for this course consists of a few hand-outs and 5 books:

  1. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, The Science of Knowledge, trans. Peter Heath and John Lachs, Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  2. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller, Oxford University Press, 1977.
  3. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology, trans. anon., abridged by C.J. Arthur, International Publishers, 1970.
  4. Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, trans. Howard and Edna Hong, Princeton University Press, 1985.
  5. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Walter Kaufmann, Random House, Vintage Books, 1966.

Note: each of these books exists in different English translations. Please use the translations and editions cited, unless you can get the out-of-print unabridged edition of Marx and Engels' German Ideology from International Publishers.

I've created a course home-page containing a collection of hand-outs and course-related web links at


Works and pages cited for a given day will be discussed that day in class and should have been read in advance. Readings in brackets are recommended but not required. Writing assignments due on a given day are due at the beginning of class.

You may disregard page numbers for Marx and Kierkegaard preceded by "PS:". These refer to editions that I use when mine differ from yours.

Week 1.  August 24-28
No class
First class; this syllabus; generic hand-out; essay assignment hand-out; introduction; review Kant; review French Revolution; review revolutions of 1848; review Plato's Meno

Week 2.  August 31 - September 4
syllabus, generic hand-out, Fichte xiii-xiv, 3-28
Fichte, 29-42, [42-62], 62-75

Week 3.  September 7-11
Fichte, 75-85, 89-92, [93-120], 101-102, 146-48, 160-64, 172-73, [182], 195, 202, 203-08
Fichte, 218-51

Week 4.  September 14-18
Review day Fichte paper due
Hegel, 1-30

Week 5.  September 21-25
Hegel, 30-45, 46-57
Hegel, 58-79

Week 6.  September 28 - October 2
Hegel, [79-103], 104-119
Hegel, 119-138, [453-63]

Week 7.  October 5-9
Hegel, 463-493
Review day Hegel paper due

Week 8.  October 12-16
Feuerbach, "Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy" (hand-out)
No class, mid-term break

Week 9.  October 19-23
Marx & Engels, 37-57 PS:29-57
Marx & Engels, 57-79 PS:57-82

Week 10.  October 26-30
Marx & Engels, 79-95, 121-23 PS:82-102, 615-17
Review day Marx & Engels paper due

Week 11.  November 2-6
Kierkegaard, 5-36 PS:2-45
Kierkegaard, 36-71 PS:46-88

Week 12.  November 9-13
Kierkegaard, 72-88 PS:89-110
Kierkegaard, 89-111 PS:111-139

Week 13.  November 16-20
Review day Kierkegaard paper due
Nietzsche, 2-32 (pages, not sections)

Week 14.  November 23-27
Nietzsche, 35-56, 59-76
No class, Thanksgiving break

Week 15.  November 30 - December 4
Nietzsche, 97-118, 128-131, 134-136, 145-156
Nietzsche, 156-162, 186-89, 201-237 Topic of long paper due

Week 16.  December 7-11
Review day Nietzsche paper due today
Evaluation form due before next class
Last class, no reading due; oral evaluation

I've stuck in a review day every time we change philosophers. Here are some of my ideas on how to use these days; let me hear yours.


Title Due date Weight Description
Fichte Paper September 14 10% 3-4 pp. Interpretation only. Details.
Hegel Paper October 8 10% 3-4 pp. Interpretation only. Details.
Marx & Engels Paper October 29 10% 3-4 pp. Interpretation only. Details.
Kierkegaard Paper November 13 10% 3-4 pp. Interpretation only. Details.
Nietzsche Paper December 7 10% 3-4 pp. Interpretation only. Details.
Long Paper December 15 25% 10+ pp. On any one of our five major authors. Interpretation plus evaluation. Details.
Ask opening questions Fridays 5% On Thursdays. You'll do this as often as our enrollment divides into the number of Thursdays. Details.
Participation Daily 20% Attendance plus helpful, voluntary participation in every discussion. Details.
Evaluation form December 10 0% Due any time before the last day of class. Use the hardcopy form I will hand out or print yourself a copy of the online version.
You must submit all assigned work to pass the course.

Short papers

Your short papers should ask a sharp, narrow question and offer an interpretation of the author's answer and supporting argument.

This is the exegetical or interpretive portion (Part 1) of the paper assignment described in the essay assignment hand-out.

The evaluative portion (Part 2) is not required in these short papers. However, your evaluative comments are welcome as an optional addition if they are above and beyond the 3-4 pp. of interpretation. If you'd like to write evaluative comments on one or more of these short papers, as practice for the long paper, I will give you comments but no grade on that portion of the paper.

Long paper

Your long (10+ pp.) should focus on one of our five major authors. With permission, it may be a comparative paper on two of these thinkers. It may build upon any of your short papers, when relevant. It is due on our regularly scheduled exam day (December 15, noon).

The long paper should contain both (1) interpretation of the author's position and argument and (2) your evaluative comments on their strengths and weakness. See the essay assignment hand-out for more details.

Library research is recommended but not required. If you do some library research, include a bibliography citing the sources you used. Only use library sources if they help you interpret the author's position or evaluate its merits. This is not a research paper in which you have to report the views of other scholars.

The holdings in Lilly are very good in nineteenth century philosophy. The material on the web on our five major authors is very uneven in quantity and quality. For the foreseeable future, the best way to do depth research in philosophy will be in a print library or the online version of Philosopher's Index.

About a week before the paper is due, I will want your question and the name of your chosen philosopher in writing.

See my generic hand-out for details on paper mechanics, lateness, rewrites, and the option of having me grade your paper on tape.

If you submit a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your long paper (and also with your final short paper, on Nietzsche), then I will mail them to you during the break. If you put your campus mail box number on them, I will mail them to your campus box early next semester. If you do neither, I will hold them for you to pick up next semester.


By design, more than half this course will be discussion. Therefore, good preparation is essential. I expect that every student will participate voluntarily every day. I will not call on non-volunteers unless it is necessary to bring in every voice. See my generic hand-out for details on participation and discussion.

Every Thursday, a student will open discussion by asking the first questions. See the opening questions hand-out for details. Students in the class will take turns at this, which will probably mean going several times during the semester.

Think-about questions

At the request of past students I have written a hand-out of questions correlated with each day's reading. (This hand-out is not yet online.) Use it to help you focus on important issues as you read. The questions will also point to likely topics of future class discussion on which you ought to be prepared, at least with page numbers. The questions will be worth your cogitation even if we don't reach them in class.


The hand-out of think-about questions will also contain theses to explicate. These are important conclusions of our authors. To explicate an argument is to find the author's supporting argument for a given conclusion and to restate it with great brevity and clarity. (For more detail, see my explication hand-out.) You need not write any explications for this course. But don't be surprised if we try to construct one collaboratively in class every now and then.

Return to the course home-page.

Ribbon] Peter Suber, Department of Philosophy, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374. Copyright © 1998, Peter Suber.