Recent Issues in Continental Philosophy


Dr Callan Ledsham
 Not offered in 2020

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.


one foundational unit of philosophy


face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


  • two 1,000-word short papers 2 x 20%
  • one 4,000-word essay 50%
  • one 1,000-word skeleton argument 10%
  • one 6,000-word essay 90%
  • one 1,000-word skeleton argument 10%


  • Cutrofello, Andrew. Continental Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy. London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Grenz, Stanley J. A Primer on Postmodernism. Grand Rapids, MN: W. B. Eerdmans, 1996. 
  • Hart, Kevin. Postmodernism: A Beginner’s Guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2004.
  • Janicaud, Dominique, Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Jean-Luc Marion, and Michel Henry. Phenomenology and the ‘Theological Turn’: The French Debate. Perspectives in Continental Philosophy 15. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000.
  • Mackinlay, Shane. Interpreting Excess: Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics. Perspectives in Continental Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press, 2010.
  • Marion, Jean-Luc. The Essential Writings. Edited by Kevin Hart. Perspectives in Continental Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.
  • Moran, Dermot. Introduction to Phenomenology. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. Edited by Rolf-Peter Horstmann and Judith Norman. Translated by Judith Norman. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • West, David. Continental Philosophy: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010.