Update (11/09/2009): The chair of the philosophy department, R. Jay Wallace, who is also going to be the advisor for the class, has approved the Nietzsche DeCal for next semester!
Here is the syllabus that I've prepared for the DeCal class on Nietzsche. I've decided to integrate the secondary literature into a course focused on comprehending Twilight of the Idols. This DeCal will either be available next semester or next year (however, considering that I am a Junior, and that Seniors have priority in creating DeCal classes, and that the Philosophy Department can only sponsor two DeCals, perhaps I will have to wait for next year). The Department Chair will decide which two classes to sponsor by this Tuesday, the 10th.
Philosophy 198 (2 units)
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
This course seeks to convey a general understanding concerning the thoughts and ideas of the 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It is aimed at the introductory level, so students from all majors and philosophical backgrounds are encouraged to attend. However, a fruitful discussion will be dependent, in part, on the careful reading of the passages and the thoughtful contributions of the students. Approximately 6-14 pages of reading will be assigned per week (9.5 pages on average), and we will collectively discuss them during lecture. We will be covering the complete text of Twilight of the Idols (Götzen-Dämmerung) – a short book of about 80 pages that Nietzsche considered an introduction to his philosophy. As a supplement, we will also be reading three lucid articles of secondary literature.
(Students must fulfill all expectations in order to receive two units to pass the course.)
Attendance – Students are expected to have no more than two unexcused absences.
Paper – Students are expected to write one five-page final paper on selected topics discussed in the course.
Participation – Students are expected to be prepared with assigned readings and engage in interactive discussions.
We will be using the Cambridge translation of Twilight of the Idols – translated by Judith Norman and edited by Aaron Ridley. The ISBN for the paperback is 0521016886. The text is bundled into a book with several other short works under the title, “The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols: And Other Writings.” (Amazon.com link to the book.)
Handouts will be provided for the assigned readings of secondary literature.
Lecture Tasks & Discussion:
*Short Biography of Nietzsche's Life
*19th-Century Germany & Europe
*Major philosophical influences on Nietzsche's thought
*Listen to “Brian Leiter on Nietzsche's Myths”
Reading for next week: Preface; Maxims and Arrows (i)
Week 2 – Morality
*Nihilism versus Affirmation (The Will to Nothingness; The Will to Power)
*Morality in the Pejorative Sense (MPS)
*Perfectionism & Freedom of Will (Stoics; Spinoza; Nietzsche)
Reading for next week: The Problem of Socrates (ii); “Reason” in Philosophy (iii)
Week 3 – Reason / Being / Logos
Reading for next week: How the “True World” Finally Became a Fable (iv); Morality as Anti-Nature (v)
Week 4 – Nature & Anti-Nature
*Descriptive components of MPS
Reading for next week: The Four Great Errors (vi)
Week 5 – Causality
Reading for next week: “Nietzsche's Philosophy of Action” by Brian Leiter
Week 6 – Epiphenomenalism
Reading for next week: “Nietzsche's Theory of Mind” by Paul Katsafanas (pages 1-14)
Week 7 – The Mind (1 of 2)
Reading for next week: “Nietzsche's Theory of Mind” by Paul Katsafanas (pages 14-24)
Week 8 – The Mind (2 of 2)
Reading for next week: The “Improvers” of Mankind (vii); What the Germans Lack (viii)
Week 9 – Interpretation / Education
Reading for next week: Skirmishes of an Untimely Man (ix: §1-24)
Week 10 – Free Spirits & Art (1 of 2)
*Darwin & Lamarck
Reading for next week: Skirmishes of an Untimely Man (ix: §25-51)
Week 11 – Free Spirits & Art (2 of 2)
Reading for next week: “Honest Illusion: Valuing for Nietzsche's Free Spirits” by Nadeem Hussain
Week 12 – Fictionalism & Pragmatism
Reading for next week: What I Owe to the Ancients (x), The Hammer Speaks (xi)
Week 13 – Conclusion
Week 14 –
*Extra week to either focus longer on discussing the topic of one of previous weeks or to read an additional article of secondary literature.
(I may change the Katsafanas article from "Nietzsche's Theory of Mind" to "Nietzsche's Philosophical Psychology".)