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    Macalester College
  Feb 23, 2018
College Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GERM 314 - Darwin/Nietzsche/Freud

Cross-Listed as PHIL 214 
We all have values; but what are they based on? Perhaps no two thinkers have asked this question as persistently and approached it with such intrepid originality as Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Writing in an age when religious belief had lost credence as a foundation for ethics, Nietzsche and Freud confronted the groundlessness of value systems while recognizing the impossibility of living without them. Both were reacting to Darwin’s discovery of natural selection, which dispelled nature’s divine aura and inaugurated what Nietzsche would call the “death of God.” The course explores the challenges to value judgments in the wake of Darwin and attempted solutions to them, centering on the four domains of ethics, subjectivity, aesthetics, and cultural value. Readings will include excerpts from Darwin’s The Origin of Species ; Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals, The Gay Science , and the texts posthumously published as The Will to Power ; Freud’s Totem and Taboo, Civilization and Its Discontents , and Beyond the Pleasure Principle ; as well as other works. Alternate years. (4 Credits)