Friedrich Nietzsche called the foundations of the western intellectual tradition into question. Throughout the twentieth century, philosophers have built on Nietzsche’s discrediting of metaphysical thought, and sought new ways of thinking about truth and reality by engaging with cultural discourses such as aesthetics, politics and ethics. In figures such as Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Luc Marion, this has opened the way to new possibilities for exploring transcendence and thought about God in the twenty-first century. This unit examines areas that may include the foundations of the postmodern in Nietzsche, Lyotard, Foucault and Deleuze; the reworking of the metaphysical tradition by the hermeneutics and aesthetics of Gadamer and Merleau-Ponty; the deconstructive strategies of Heidegger and Derrida; the much-debated contemporary ‘theological turn’ in French phenomenology; and emerging movements such as the speculative realism of Quentin Meillassoux.

Unit Code: AP3161C

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit Discipline: Philosophy

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Outline the key concepts informing postmodern thought studied in the unit;


Critically compare the positions studied in the unit with those typical of previous approaches to metaphysics


Assess the significance of the postmodern project for understanding contemporary culture


Appraise the philosophical positions studied in relation to the emerging postmodern western cultural context of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Unit sequence

30 points of philosophy at second level


Lectures, seminars and tutorials


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

two 750-word seminar papers

0 30.0

2,500-word essay

0 50.0
Written Examination

1-hour written examination

0 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-02-01 15:23:40 +1100