Thinking about life: Existentialism, Life World and Dasein module (PI21004)

Dive into existential inquiry. Explore human experience, life, consciousness, and the quest for meaning in modern philosophy.

On this page


Module code


Existentialism emerges as a poignant response to the disillusionment following the World Wars, challenging conventional notions of progress and delving into the essence of human existence. Meanwhile, the method of Phenomenology, pioneered by Husserl, revolutionises philosophical inquiry by refocusing attention on lived experience and the phenomena of consciousness.

This module illuminates the transformative impact of 20th-century philosophical movements on our understanding of existence and reality. From existential angst to the exploration of Dasein (roughly translating from German as 'being there' - it highlights the importance of lived experience), you will critically engage with pivotal writings that have shaped modern philosophical thought and continue to influence our understanding of life and existence.

Join us on a journey of intellectual discovery where philosophy transcends mere abstraction and illuminates the complexities of human existence. "Thinking about life" offers a pathway to profound self-reflection and a deeper understanding of the human condition in the context of modern philosophical thought.

What you will learn

In this module you will:

  • explore the historical and cultural context that gave rise to existentialism and phenomenology
  • engage deeply with key existentialist and phenomenological texts to understand their central themes and concepts
  • analyse the existential crisis of the modern era and its expression in philosophical thought
  • examine the methodological innovations of phenomenology and its implications for understanding human experience
  • reflect critically on your own philosophical assumptions and attitudes towards existence
  • foster a deeper appreciation for the complexities of human existence

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the major philosophical movements of existentialism and phenomenology
  • critically evaluate existential and phenomenological texts, recognising their enduring relevance and significance
  • apply existentialist and phenomenological insights to contemporary issues and personal reflection
  • articulate your philosophical perspectives with clarity and coherence, informed by the existential and phenomenological traditions
  • navigate complex philosophical inquiries with confidence

Assignments / assessment

  • essay 2,000 (70%)
  • work questions/discussion points (30%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

Teaching is conducted via:

  • lectures
  • tutorials


This module is available on following courses: