Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code PHIL332
Coordinator Dr JA Jobling
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15


To consider the theories and arguments of some of the most important existentialist philosophers, such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre. To analyse some of the main themes of existentialist philosophy, such as absurdity, ethics, authenticity and 'truth'. To relate the philosophical issues raised by existentialism to lived practice and to concrete examples.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to explain and evaluate some of the main theories in existentialism.

(LO2) Students will be able to analyse key concepts and arguments relating to existentialism.

(LO3) Students will be able to structure discussion of issues around existentialist metaphysics and ethics.

(LO4) Students will be able to identify the relevance of existentialist philosophy to their own lives.

(LO5) Students will be able to articulate and defend positions relating to existentialist themes.

(LO6) Students will be able to present their ideas with clarity and confidence.

(LO7) Students will be able to write coherent, structured and informative accounts on abstract philosophical issues.

(S1) Students will develop their skills in making appropriate use of information technology, information on the World Wide Web and reference works and databases relevant to the discipline.

(S2) Students will enhance their capacity to participate, in a dispassionate and respectful manner, in debates about controversial and profound matters.

(S3) Students will develop their willingness critically to evaluate and reflect upon arguments, beliefs, proposals and values, both their own and those of others.

(S4) Students will enhance their abilities in reading and understanding texts and in comprehending abstract material.

(S5) Students will develop their skills in thinking critically, analysing problems and analysing and assessing arguments.

(S6) Students will enhance their ability to identify and reflect critically upon the issues that underlie debates.

(S7) Students will develop confidence in considering previously unfamiliar ideas and approaches.

(S8) Students will enhance their ability to marshal arguments and present them orally and in writing.

(S9) Students will enhance their oral and written communications skills and develop skill in explaining complex material in a precise manner.



The Meaning of Life and the Absurd. Camus: the Myth of Sisyphus and the Absurd. Kierkegaard: truth and ethics. Nietzsche: truth, ethics and authenticity. Sartre: nausea, authenticity and conflict with others. Fanon: black existentialism. de Beauvoir: ethics and existentialism.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture.
Description: 11 x 1 hour lecture. Lectures are tutor-led activities, offering a map of the syllabus and a framework for independent enquiry-led research. Students are encouraged to engage actively with lectures through, for example: (i) taking opportunities to ask questions during the session; (ii) reflecting on and responding to questions posed to them; (iii) producing questions and notes on issues for subsequent group discussion in seminars.
Attendance recorded: No

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar.
Description: 11 x 1 hour seminar. Seminars are formative spaces of applied and enquiry-led learning based on pre-set readings and facilitated by the tutor. Seminars thus offer opportunities for students to respond to tutor- and peer-set questions, deepen understanding, apply ideas, develop arguments and build confidence through group discussion. One or two students take the lead each week through peer-teaching, delivering presentations based o n their own enquiries and identification of questions and issues.
Attendance recorded: Yes

Delivery Notes:
a) if mixed, hybrid delivery, with social distancing on campus: Lectures on-line; seminars on-campus

(b) if fully online delivery and assessment: Lectures on-line; seminars on-line

(c) if standard on campus delivery with minimal social distancing: Lectures on-campus; seminars on-campus

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 11


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 128


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Take-home Examination (IF HYBRID/ONLINE) There is a resit opportunity. This is an anonymous assessment.  24    40       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Presentation This is not an anonymous assessment. Reassessment opportunity: Yes    15       
Essay There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.    45       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.