This class focuses on 20th-century thinkers and writers who questioned such fundamental concepts of Western philosophy as identity, subject, representation, truth, or origin.
What these thinkers and writers all have in common is an abandonment of dialectical, totalizing models of thinking in favour of pluralistic discourses that can accommodate radical heterogeneity. The recurrent themes of the class are: relations between philosophy and literature, intersections between the philosophical notions of ethics and aesthetics, and viability of deconstruction for political and cultural praxis. The readings include theoretical texts (Benjamin, Heidegger, Derrida, Irigaray, bell hooks, Lyotard, Levinas, Agamben, Nancy) and some works of fiction (Kafka, Borges, Duras). The class provides students with excellent opportunities to study challenging texts and strengthen their skills in independent, critical thinking.