This advanced graduate-level course in Philosophy addresses a unique topic on a rotating basis in order to keep the programme at the forefront of scholarly research. Every year the academic staff member will approve of a new topic to be covered. The bibliography will contain not less than 8 peer-reviewed articles or scholarly publications reflecting the current topic.
Structuralism and phenomenology are the two great competing philosophical movements of the twentieth century starting with Saussure and Husserl. Both begin with different assumptions: one takes the givens of immediate experience; the other casts it aside in favor of the hidden structures of thought. One begins with thinking as consciousness; the other with thought as language. A few phenomenologists have tried to bridge the difference. Some like Sartre have stuck to their principles. One of the most problematic consequences of structuralism is how to explain the emergence of the subject. The most problematic consequence of phenomenology is how to explain the existence of other people.
By the end of this course, researchers will be expected to be able to understand the difference between these two movements and their continued influence on philosophy today. The old dualism between subject and object has morphed into one between thought and language. Can thought be the property of a subject? Or must thought be described as belonging to language itself? The whole problem of the individual and the collective is at stake. Even politics is involved. If we cannot bridge this gap, how can we explain collective action? And if there is no individual who thinks, what becomes of human agency? These are a few of the questions this course will address.