"All beginnings are difficult," goes the saying, "but without them there wouldn't be an end." However, what makes beginnings so difficult? What kind of action is that? Which knowledge does it presuppose? And what would a beginning say about the end? We will pursue these questions by reading sacred, philosophical, literary, and scientific texts that, each in its own way, make a beginning.
- thorough reading and critical analysis of the texts - reflection upon the conditions and practice of beginnings in terms of their epistemology and rhetorical strategy (i.e. as an intellectual and literary operation) - consider the cultural and historical function of fictions that tell of origins, such as cosmological myths, foundationalist philosophy, or poetic incantations
Myths of Creation and First Origins (Genesis und Gospel of St. John, Theogony, Upanishads), philosophy (Fichte, Hegel), literature and poetry (Wieland, Hölderlin, Novalis, Wordsworth, Melville, Richard Wagner, Beckett). For an introduction, see Wolfgang Iser, Emergenz: Nachgelassene und verstreut publizierte Essays (Konstanz 2013).
Prerequisites / Notice
readings partly in English
Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)