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PHL 428 The Enlightenment and its Critics (3 credits)

This course provides a survey of the “critical tradition” in philosophy – a tradition seeking to ascertain the nature and limits of human reason in the hopes of moving toward social and cultural progress. The course will begin with the critical tradition’s roots in the thinkers of the French and German Enlightenments of the 18th century, continue with three of the Enlightenment’s major critics – Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud – and culminate in the critical social theories of the Frankfurt School and Michel Foucault in the 20th century. In the end, the course will consider the tenability of the Enlightenment project and its hopes for the future as well as the status of critical social theory today.