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The Great War and Modern Philosophy

KU Leuven University via edX


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.

Taught by

Nicolas de Warren


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

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  • Karen Carlson completed this course.

    I had mixed feelings about this mooc. On the plus side, I discovered many philosophers - and artists/writers - new to me, and began to better understand the impact of WWI on Europe. It was also one of the most professionally-produced and evocative moocs...

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