Stephen Cunniff

Stephen Cunniff
Research Interests: German Idealism, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Kierkegaard, Logic

Previous Education

BA (Hons., 1st class), Philosophy, McGill University, 2014


German Idealism, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Kierkegaard, Logic

Recent Courses

PHIL 29200-02/29300-02 Junior/Senior Tutorial

Topic: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

Hegel regarded his Phenomenology of Spirit as both the introduction to his entire philosophical system as a well as its first part. In this remarkable text, Hegel offers a radically unique account of the nature of human subjectivity as such (or ‘spirit’), presenting this subjectivity as at once absolute and self-determining yet at the same time essentially the product of its own ongoing history. In a dramatic progression through numerous ‘shapes of consciousness,’ Hegel develops a conceptual reconstruction of what he considers to be necessary stages in the nature of spirit and its own historical self-understanding. From his famous ‘Master-Slave dialectic’ to his critique of Romantic Irony and the clash of ‘Beautiful Souls’, Hegel attempts to display the evolution of spirit as the result of certain necessary and decisive crises within these ‘shapes of consciousness.’ According to Hegel, it is precisely in the confrontation and resolution of its own contradictions that spirit is capable of realizing that freedom and self-consciousness which he calls ‘Absolute Knowing’. The course will consist of a close reading of this exciting and enormously influential text.

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Open only to intensive-track and philosophy majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2020-2021 Winter