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Unit Overview


This unit explores the work of a number of influential continental philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially those philosophers belonging to the phenomenological tradition. Thinkers discussed may include Kant, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Gadamer and Derrida. Much continental philosophy can be read as an attempt to find a way between traditional philosophical dichotomies such as subject/object, internal/external, realism/anti-realism. As a result, each of these philosophers has important things to say about truth, meaning, the self, knowledge and our relation to others. Given the profound influence of these philosophers on Western thought, their work is of central importance to all students of the humanities and social sciences.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Philosophy major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) explain and outline some of the major philosophical positions in Continental Philosophy; (2) understand the similarities and differences between the continental tradition and the analytic tradition; (3) describe and evaluate complex philosophical positions on the nature of the subject/self, our knowledge of the external world, realism and idealism, and the nature and foundations of morality; (4) describe and evaluate the radical critiques of Western philosophy found in the works of Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger and Derrida; and (5) understand the phenomenological method of philosophy as developed by Husserl, Heidegger and others.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) critique; (2) in class test; and (3) essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Andrew Milne
Unit rules
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or PPHE2211
PHIL2225 Continental Philosophy
Contact hours
2 x 45minute lectures online
1 x 2 hour seminar in person
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.