Philosophy Dept. to Offer Course in Existentialism

May Drop Phil 1

The philosophy department will offer an undergraduate course in existentialism next year for the first time since John Wild left the University in February 1961. The half-course will be taught by Dagfinn K. Follesdal, who will be appointed assistant professor of philosophy this summer.

Wild, who became chairman of the philosophy department at Northwestern University, said he felt "isolated" at Harvard because courses here emphasized the logical and linguistic elements of philosophical thought over more traditional methods.

Now an instructor in Philosophy, Follesdal will again offer next year Phil 133, phenomenology and its background. His two courses, covering one continuous movement in nineteenth century philosophy, give the University "the best representation of that period we've ever had," according to Roderick Firth, chairman of the department.

Firth also stated that next year the department may drop Phil 1, which until this Fall has been offered without interruption for 75 years. The course reading overlaps by at least 60 per cent that in Hum 5, one of the largest courses in the University and one which the department must also staff. Firth pointed out that the eight-man philosophy department is the smallest of its kind in any major U.S. college.

To replace Phil 1, the department may allow students to take any of three introductory courses: Hum 5, Phil 75 ("The Conflict of Ideals in Modern Civilization"), or a new half-course in the "great issues and problems" in philosophical thought. The new course, Firth said might emphasize critical analysis more than Phil 1 did; during the 30 years the course was taught by Raphael Demos, Phil 1 used the historical approach to ancient and modern philosophy.


Firth noted that the philosophy department could offer more courses if it did not use Faculty members for tutorial rather than the graduate teaching fellows tutoring in other fields.