BLS 452 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
Winter 2007

Instructor: Constantin Behler

Class Meetings: M/W 5:45 - 7:50pm
UW1 030
UW1 340
Office Hours: W 4:00 - 5:30pm and by arrangement
Phone: (425) 352-5373
CB's Homepage:
CB's Glossary for Students:

Note: The Web readings and the Glossary require name and password

Course Description: Widely considered to be among the most important philosophers and theorists of the modern era, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud have profoundly influenced how we make sense of our lives and how we think of our existence, both as individuals and as social beings. While clearly rooted in distinctly European (i.e., Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, Enlightenment, and Romantic) traditions, these thinkers have upset and revolutionized that cultural heritage to an extent and in a manner that very much parallels the revolutionary transformations of modern society. This course examines some of their most important and characteristic writings in order to expose students to the central challenges of their thought. Particular attention will be paid to their importance in the development of a distinctly modern conception of the world.

Course Requirements: Students are expected to be well prepared for the class meetings, i.e., to have studied the assigned readings carefully, and to participate actively in the class and online blackboard discussions (25%). There will be three take-home essay exams (25% each; First Essay Assignment; Second Essay Assignment; Third Essay Assignment. This is a challenging class that confronts participants with highly provocative and sometimes uncomfortable ideas and arguments. It is expected that students treat the subject matter and the class discussions with maturity and with the kind of willingness to be engaged that a senior-level college course demands. It is everyone's responsibility to help create the best possible learning environment for this course.

Main Learning Objectives: This course is designed to enhance a number of intellectual skills and practices. First and foremost is wishes to further your ability to think critically, understood here above all in terms of one's capacity to engage in what is called second-order observation, both of other peoples' ideas, writing, and creative work, as well as one's own. The course practices your ability to think and imagine historically, sociologically, and psychologically, and to understand and value communication in its various forms, as well as to further your own ability to communicate successfully.

Statement on Plagiarism (from the UWB Catalogue): "Plagiarism is the use of the creations, ideas or words of someone else without formally acknowledging the author or source through the use of quotation marks, references, and the like. Plagiarizing is stealing someone’s work and presenting it as one’s own work or thought. Student work in which plagiarism occurs will ordinarily not be accepted as satisfactory by the instructor, and may lead to disciplinary action against the student submitting it. Any student who is uncertain whether his or her use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before formally submitting the course work involved."

Required Texts:
Books (for sale at the UWB Bookstore):
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents. New York: Norton, 1989.
Texts on the WEB (password required; please make hardcopies and bring to class):
Kant, "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitian Point of View"
Selections from Marx, "Manifesto of the Communist Party"

Marx, "On the Jewish Question"
Selections from Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts
Selections from Marx, Capital
Selections from Nietzsche, The Gay Science
Selections from Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Selections from Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra,

Discussion Schedule: I.
Kant, "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitian Point of View"
sel. from Marx/Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party"
Marx, "On the Jewish Question,"
sel. from Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
sel. from Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 cont.
sel. from Capital
First Take-Home Essay due; Nietzsche introduction
The Gay Science, Aphorism 2, 3, 7, 116, 120, 122, 124, 125, 140, 141, 142, 143, 285, 290
The Gay Science, Aphorism 335, 341, 343, 344, 352, 356, 372, 373, 374, 377, 380, 382
sel. from Beyond Good and Evil
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue; Speeches 1,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Speeches 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Speeches 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
Second Take-Home Essay due, Freud Introduction
Civilization and Its Discontents, 10 - 632
Civilization and its Discontents, 64- 112
Third Take-Home Essay due