PHIL41810 Critique, Destruction & Deconstruction

Academic Year 2023/2024

Our Module will address the inception and the development, the confrontations as well as the similitudes, both the historical sources and the philosophical orientations, between three fundamental "gestures" in contemporary European philosophy: "critical theory" in Adorno and Horkheimer, the "kritische Abbau" or "destructio" of onto-theology or metaphysics in Heidegger and the "deconstruction" of the metaphysics of presence in Derrida. Our first task will therefore involve a genealogical contextualisation of these three "gestures" in order to analyse and interpret why, how, and in which manner - that is, according to which disposition and in view of which heading - each of these, in retrieving our philosophical tradition, engage in opening novel spaces and directions for what Hegel termed "the need for philosophy".
Consequently, we will engage in showing how each of these philosophical "gestures" propose new reformulations of the traditional philosophical questions of meaning and signification, telos and arché, judgment and testimony, truth and justice in history.
From the study of these three "gestures", our Module will also endeavour in presenting the premises towards a renewed approach to historical events, past and future, in our lived-present.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Understand and comprehend key philosophical concepts in the 20th Century Continental Tradition.
Critically assess and interpret key philosophical texts of the 20th Century Continental Tradition.
Critically compare key philosophical texts of the 20th Century Continental Tradition.
Develop novel philosophical hypotheses based on grounded textual and contextual knowledge of the 20th Century Continental Tradition.

Indicative Module Content:

Our Module will assess all of the key philosophical and hermeneutical arguments and gestures in the philosophical works of Adorno, Horkheimer, Heidegger and Derrida: critical theory (Adorno and Horkheimer), negative dialectics (Adorno), destruction of onto-theology (Heidegger), deconstruction (Derrida).
Ou Module will deploy the philosophical, political, ethical, historical and metaphysical suppositions and consequences of each of the philosophical works thereby assessed and studied.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and Learning will be based on lectures, reading of primary and secondary literature, reflective and critical reasoning, hermeneutical comprehension and group discussion. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Attendance at lectures is required.

Learning Recommendations:

Good knowledge of Kant's - Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and Critique of Judgment - is strongly recommended.
Good knowledge of German Idealism (Fichte, Schelling and Hegel) is strongly recommended.
Good knowledge of phenomenology (Husserl and Heidegger) is recommended.
Prior familiarity of Nietzsche's - Genealogy of Morals, Beyond Good and Evil - is recommended.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Final Essay Submission based on specific question to be discussed with the Module coordinator. End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded Yes


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, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback prior to Final Essay Submission will be given to all students individually in an out-of-class meeting with the Module Coordinator. Feednack post-assessment will be given to all students individually in an out-of-class meeting with the Module Coordinator.

Primary Readings:

Adorno and Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment
Adorno, Minima Moralia
Adorno, Negative Dialectics
Heidegger, Being and Time
Heidegger, The Letter on Humanism
Heidegger, The Essence of Technology
Derrida, Of Grammatology
Derrida, Aporias
Derrida, The Gift of Death
Derrida, Politics of Friendship
Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other
Derrida, Force of Law
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 11:00 - 12:50