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Course Description

What is the meaning of life? Why is there anything at all? What should we do? Questions like these are the focus of the existentialist tradition. This course is a study of that tradition, focusing on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as several contemporary writers. We will explore accounts of why the universe exists, why each of us human beings exists, what the meaning of life is, how we can live our lives meaningfully, how we should feel about death, and what we should do with our lives, distinguishing an existentialist’s approach to these questions from other approaches. In addition to works of philosophy, our readings will be drawn from plays, novels and nonfiction works outside philosophy.

This is an online/virtual synchronous course that follows the published schedule of course meetings and requires attendance at all sessions. Tufts virtual courses are designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive courses to Tufts and visiting students. For more information about virtual course policies and expectations, please visit 

This section is also open to rising high school students who are 11th or 12th grade students. High School students who enroll will be prompted to submit an additional application after enrollment including: a high school transcript, letter of recommendation, parental permission, and other required consent forms.

Basic Enrollment Requirements: None.

Refund Policy: The refund policy for Courses at Tufts offerings is dependent on the offering type: whether the offering is a course, workshop or short course, or in-demand offering. Please refer to the section details to confirm the type of offering as well as any exceptions to the standard refund policy. The refund policies for each offering type are viewable here:

Remission Eligible: Yes; first day of term; all university policies apply.

Affiliated With:

School of Arts and Sciences