PHIL30110 German Idealist Philosophy

Academic Year 2023/2024

The most creative period in the modern philosophical era occurred during what is now called the German idealist period. Over just a few decades an immense series of powerful and wholly original works appeared, works that have massively shaped not only philosophy but, to some extent, the course of human history.

The very idea of freedom – on the possibility of human life untrammelled by oppression from within and without – is central to the varying efforts of those philosophers who fall within the German idealist philosophical movement.

This module closely examines a selection of some of the most influential texts from this period. The texts are organized under specific themes. A number of the key reactions to the Idealists will also form part of the module.

Part I - thinking
1. Fichte, Science of Knowledge: First Introduction (idealism as freedom)
2. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit: Introduction (thinking as freedom)

Part II - morality
1. Kant, Critique of Practical Reason: Of the Principles of Pure Practical Reason (on morality as the realization of freedom)
2. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit: Lordship and Bondage (on recognition as the realization of freedom)
3. Schelling, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom: The Concept of Freedom (on responsibility as freedom)

Part III - beauty
2. Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man (art as liberation)
3. Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics: Introduction (how art tells us the truth about the world)

Part IV - reactions
1. Feuerbach, On the Essence of Christianity (1841)
2. Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
3. Wagner, Artwork of the Future (1850)

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Familiarity with essential claims of each of the text selected

Indicative Module Content:

Critical understanding of the notions of freedom, autonomy, idealism, Geist (spirit/mind), self-renunciation, pessimism, the world as illusion, the genealogy of morality, anti-Platonism, religious alienation and alienated labour.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, in class question and answer, small group tutorials on pre-prepared topics, essays with feedback from the module coordinator 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PHIL20310 - German Idealism

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Examination held at a UCD examination centre after the end of the teaching trimester. Details of the date and venue are supplied to students by the UCD Examinations Office. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Assignment: 2,500 word essay on a specified topic. Week 8 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

One essay is required during the semester. It is marked and commented upon. Students can, when collecting essays, discuss highlighted points.

Name Role
Haikyung Kwon Tutor
Mr Benjamin Modarres Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Wed 12:00 - 12:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 Wed 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 Thurs 13:00 - 13:50