PHIL 331 Selected Topics: Language and the Human Predicament

Fall Semester 2013 | Day | Burnaby


INSTRUCTOR: R. Jennings, WMC 5650 (


The course will consider the differences between essentialist and existential metaphysics and will examine some of the main themes of Existentialist literature from the perspective of human evolutionary biology. These include individual understanding and the crowd, the origins and claims of human ethics, the question of human freedom, the place of philosophy and religion, and the human significance of science and technology.


  • Lieberman, Philip (2006). Towards an Evolutionary Biology of Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674021846
  • Solomon, Robert C. (2004). Existentialism, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0195174632
  • Other readings will be provided in pdf.


  • The classes will combine presentation and discussion. Participants will write three papers of increasing depth of analysis (worth 20%, 30% and 50% respectively) with the general aim of producing work of sufficient originality, interest and clarity for submission to conferences.

 PHIL 201 or 203. Participants will be expected to have mature writing skills, and sufficient interest that they will actually read the texts.