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KULeuvenX: The Great War and Modern Philosophy

Learn how philosophers responded to the First World War and how the war changed philosophical reflection.
8 weeks
6–7 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived

About this course

Skip About this course

World War 1 was the original catastrophe of the 20th-century. This course investigates the complex ways in which the First World War mobilized philosophical reflection during the war and the varied ways in which philosophical thought responded to the war.

Students in this course will be introduced to different philosophical reactions to the First World War through discussion and analysis of texts, documents, images, artworks, film, and music. The relation between philosophy and poetry will also be explored. In this course, students will gain historical knowledge, conceptual understanding, and literacy for a clearer grasp of the complex ways in which philosophy and the Great War intersected.

The course is divided into four thematic sections:

  • An Absolute War
  • The Clash of Civilizations
  • Memento Mori
  • The Hope of Peace

Across each of these thematic sections, we will explore different philosophical traditions and movements in England, France, and Germany during the war.

Discussions will be held in English, Dutch and French.

At a glance

  • Institution: KULeuvenX
  • Subject: Humanities
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, the course reading is sourced from primary source materials and therefore an undergraduate level of reading skills would be of benefit.
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Basic knowledge of important philosophical reactions to the First World War
  • Conceptual understanding of philosophical and literary texts
  • Historical understanding of the war and its cultural impact
  • A clearer grasp of the complex ways in which philosophy and the Great War intersected 

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