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Phenomenology: Experience and Event


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Modern European Philosophy

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Humanities


The question of the event is at the center of phenomenology ever since Heidegger's theorizing of das Ereignis. On the one hand, this notion is at the center of a distinctively phenomenological study of being and of time. On the other hand, however, it has often led to philosophically insufficient developments that lean too much on mythology, theology and an unquestioned kind of historicity. One of the big challenges of contemporary phenomenology is therefore to rethink the notion of the event in the framework of ordinary human experience. But this also leads to a reformulation of the notion of experience not only in a distinctively phenomenological way, but also in a way that is new in phenomenology, as well.

Claude Romano's magnum opus L'événement et le monde, that consists of the two volumes translated into English as Event and World and Event and Time, is one of the most efficient contemporary solutions to this twofold problem. Constructed as a reply to Heidegger's Being and Time and to Heidegger's definition of the event, Romano's book shows how the entire existential analytic must be reformed so as to answer to the needs of the contemporary world. For example, the key experience defining human existence is not death anymore, like in Heidegger, but birth, like in Arendt.

In this course, Romano's book will be studied thoroughly. On the one hand, the book gives a rich and rigorous example of how to do phenomenology today. On the other hand, the course is an occasion to revisit the phenomenological tradition that Romano refers to and to see how he debates with it. Of course, we also evaluate Romano's solution and see if it calls for further developments.

This is an advanced course on phenomenology that presupposes some knowledge of the main formulations of this discipline – but these will also be explained so as to give a good grasp of the debates within the field. The course also aims to show that phenomenology is not only a historical discipline but a living practice that evolves with time and answers to the needs of our time.

Course objectives

The aim of the course is to familiarize oneself with contemporary phenomenology in the light of its history.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • contemporary key questions of phenomenology.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • develop a phenomenological investigation;

  • interpret a difficult phenomenological text in the light of a personal question.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminars

The sessions will take the form of lectures by the instructor and seminar discussions of key texts. Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


Graded assessment

  • Final essay of 4000 words (100%)

Non-graded exercises

  • Mid-term take-home exercise: research project in preparation of the final essay.

The non-graded exercise is required for getting admission to the final exam (paper).


  • Final essay (100%)

Class participation is a mandatory requirement for submitting the final paper.


Papers that fail will need to be rewritten in line with instructor’s comments.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Discussion of the paper is by appointment after publication of the final grade.

Reading list

The course material consists of two books that are actually the two parts of one book that was published as a single volume only in 2021:

  • Claude Romano. L'événement et le monde. Paris, PUF, 2021.

You can also use the original editions and translations:

  • Claude Romano, L'événement et le monde. Paris, PUF, 1998, 2nd edition 1999.
    English translation: Claude Romano, Event and World. Tr. Shane Mackinlay. Fordham University Press 2009.

  • Claude Romano, L'événement et le temps. Paris, PUF, 1999, 2nd edition 2012.
    English translation: Claude Romano, Event and Time. Tr. Stephen E. Lewis. Fordham University Press 2013.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.