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

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Module code


  • Level 2
  • Semester 2
  • Philosophy - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • Tuesday Evening Tutorial Available


Existentialism was a philosophical movement that reached its height of popularity in the mid-twentieth century and grew as a reaction to its philosophical predecessors whom it claimed had lost touch with the fundamental aim of philosophy - namely, to understand what it means to exist. Existentialism was also a reaction to the false optimism of progress that followed on from the Enlightenment and the sense of spiritual loss and political cynicism generated by the two World Wars.

This module will explore different types of existential philosophies and how the concerns they raise can be seen in contemporary forms of society and culture, such as technology, art and film. Students will, therefore, gain an understanding of a major movement within twentieth-century philosophy and be able to apply this understanding critically in assessing significant forms of contemporary culture.


Dr Tina Rock


The module consists of 22 lecture seminars and 11 tutorials. These two ways of teaching complement each other. The lecture seminars are the key medium for the delivery of the course’s philosophical content. Here we will read and analyse texts together. Tutorials are more participatory.


The assessment components for this module are:

  • Essay (70%)
  • Worksheets (30%)


The module uses two key texts in the first part of term and various excerpts from philosophical texts in the second part which will be provided on My Dundee.  There will also be other required reading and assignments relating to more recent philosophy, art and film.

Core Reading

  • Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism
  • Various essays from other philosophers provided via My Dundee.

Background Reading

  • Earnshaw, Steven. Existentialism: A Guide for the Perplexed, London: Continuum, 2006
  • Flynn, Thomas. Existentialism: A Very Short Guide, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006
  • Tillich, Paul. The Courage to Be, London: Nisbet, 1952

Access the online reading list system


This module is available on following courses: