Kojève's Legacy -- An Introduction to French 20th Century Theory -- During the years 1933-1939, the French philosopher Alexandre Kojève gave a series of lectures on Hegel that were to exert a deep influence on the French intellectual elite of the time. Although Kojève's anthropological interpretation of the Phenomenology of Spirit has often been decried (especially by Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida), it can be argued that it provides the philosophical key to modern French thought. This course will put special emphasis on Kojève's influence on Sartre (the "for-itself" and the "in-itself"), Bataille ("sovereignty" and "useless negativity"), Blanchot (literature and death), Lacan (the "desire of the desire of the Other") and Girard ("mimetic desire"). -- The following texts will be read and discussed in class: Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel ; Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness ; René Girard, Deceit, Desire and the Novel ; Georges Bataille, "Hegel, Death and Sacrifice" and "Letter to X, lecturer on Hegel"; Maurice Blanchot, "Literature and the Right to death" ; selections from Jacques Lacan's writings; Jacques Derrida, "The Ends of Man". -- Students will be asked to write a substantial paper at the end of the quarter.
Required readings: Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (Cornell University Press, 1980); Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (Washington Square Press/Pocket Books, 1966); René Girard, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965). - The other texts will be made available in a course pack.