Julian Young

julianW. R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities
Office: B304 Tribble Hall
Phone: 336-758-3730
Email: youngjp@wfu.edu
Personal website: college.wfu.edu/philosophy/young/

Mailing Address:
PO Box 7332 Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109

Julian Young holds a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, an M.A. from Wayne State University, and a Ph. D. from the University of Pittsburgh. His main interests are 19th and 20th century German philosophy (especially, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger), the meaning of life, philosophy and opera (especially Wagner), and tragedy. His ten books and many articles reflect these interests. His most recent book is Friedrich Nietzsche: a Philosophical Biography which won the Association of American Publishers 2010 PROSE award for philosophy.


University of Pittsburgh Ph D 1972
Wayne State University MA 1968
Cambridge University BA 1965. MA 1969
Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, England

Academic Positions
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities, Wake Forest University
Professor of Philosophy, Wake Forest University
Honorary Research Professor, University of Tasmania
Honorary Research Associate, University of Auckland

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Courses for the Fall Semester, 2013
Philosophy 353 Heidegger
Heidegger early and late. Early Heidegger: the contrast between conformism and authenticity achieved through ‘being-towards-death’; meaning through communal tradition. Late Heidegger: critique of modernity’s reduction of everything to ‘resource’; the ethics of ‘dwelling’ as our proper way of being in the world.

Philosophy 116. Meaning and Happiness. (3h)
Beginning with Plato (c. 400 BCE) and ending with Foucault (died 1984) the course will look at the views of Western philosophers who have discussed how to live a happy, meaningful life, with particular attention paid to ‘post-death-of-God’ philosophers (e.g. Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger).

English 346A/Phi 385A: The tragic Effect: Philosophy and Drama
What is the ‘tragic effect’? What is the satisfaction that that we derive from fictional portrayals of events that in real life would appall us? We shall look at the different and conflicting answers to this question given by philosophers over the last two millennia. We shall begin with Plato who expelled the tragic poets from his ideal state on the grounds that tragedy is bad for one, that the tragic effect is a bad effect. We shall then examine Aristotle’s defense of tragedy against Plato’s critique, a defense in which ‘catharsis’ plays a central role. After considering why Seneca, a Stoic philosopher, should have written such horrendously violent tragedies, we shall skip to Hume’s eighteenth century account of tragic pleasure. After that we will turn to one of the major account of the tragic effect, Hegel’s account of Greek tragedy as the resolution of ethical dilemmas together with his claim that, since it does not resolve such dilemmas, Shakespearean tragedy is inferior to Greek. Following Hegel we shall examine Kierkegaard’s examination of the question of whether tragedy in the modern age is even possible. And then we shall looks at several of the German Romantics – Schelling, Hölderlin and Nietzsche – who attempt to account for the tragic effect in terms of ‘the sublime’. After the Romantics, we shall look at Walter Benjamin’s distinction between ‘tragedy’ and ‘mourning play (Trauerspiel)’ and at Carl Schmitt’s application of the distinction to Hamlet. We shall end the discussion by looking at several contemporary or nearly contemporary figures, Camus, Arthur Miller, and Slavoj Žižek. On the basis of our survey we shall try to answer some fundamental questions about tragedy. What is tragedy? Is there one or are there several equally good models of tragedy? What makes tragedy ‘great’? Is great tragedy possible in the modern age? As the course proceeds, we shall spend three evenings viewing Sophocles’ Antigone, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

Philosophy 356. 20th-Century European Philosophy: Heidegger, Gadamer, Adorno, Habermas. (3h)
Issues covered include: the difference between authentic and inauthentic life, the ethics of ‘dwelling’, the nature of interpretation, the critique of the effects of capitalism on modern society and culture, and the defense of reason as a basis of social life against ‘postmodernism’.

Philosophy 385A/MUS 285A/Hon 238A Wagner & Philosophy
In his younger days as a revolutionary anarchist-communist Wagner produced an integrated philosophy of art and society. We shall aim to see how this ‘philosophy of the Gesamtkunstwerk (collective artwork)’ affected the character of his earlier operas.
In the middle of writing his Ring cycle, Wagner discovered Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation. This transformed his philosophy from, in his own words, ‘optimism’ to ‘pessimism’. We shall aim to see to what extent this new philosophy is manifested in the character of his later operas.
Unique among composers, Wagner has been subject to harsh criticism from major philosophers – Adorno and Nietzsche, in particular. We shall attempt to assess these criticisms. Finally, we shall try to determine whether Wagner’s philosophy (or philosophies) has anything of value to tell us about the current state of art and society.



Willing and Unwilling: A Study in the Philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer

tragedy coverIMG-20140124-00013

2014 Nietzsche and Community (editor) Under contract to Cambridge University Press.

2014 The Death of God and the Meaning of Life (second edition) with three new chapters (under contract to Routledge).

2013 The Philosophy of Tragedy: from Plato to Žižek (New York:Cambridge University Press) (Publication date 6/25/2013).

2010 Friedrich Nietzsche: a Philosophical Biography (New York: Cambridge University Press), a 650-page book devoted equally to Nietzsche’s life and to his works. Includes 17 of Nietzsche’s musical compositions on the book’s accompanying website.
Forthcoming in Turkish translation with Bankasi Kultur Yayinlari, Istanbul, in Portuguese translation with Editora Forense, Rio de Janeiro, and in Chinese translation with Zhejiang University Press.
Winner of the Association of American Publishers 2010 PROSE Award for philosophy, and selected by CHOICE magazine as an ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ of 2010.
For critical reaction see http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item5708846/?site_locale=en_US

2006 Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), in both hardback and paperback. Forthcoming in Greek translation with Kedros Publishers, Athens in 2013.

2005 Schopenhauer in the “Routledge Philosophers” series (London: Routledge), in both hardback and paperback. (Forthcoming in Chinese translation with Huaxia Publishing House Bejing, and Greek translation with Kendros Publishers, Athens.)

2003 The Death of God and the Meaning of Life (London: Routledge), in both hardback and paperback. (Iranian translation in preparation.)

2002 Off the Beaten Track (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). With Kenneth Haynes, editors, translators and introducers of this translation of Martin Heidegger’s Holzwege. In both hardback and paperback.

2002  Heidegger’s Later Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), in both hardback and paperback.

2002 Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Reprinted 2002, reissued in paperback 2004. Iranian translation by Amir Maziyar (Tehran: Gaam-e-no, 2007).

1997 Heidegger, Philosophy, Nazism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Paperback edition 1998. Polish translation published by Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warsaw, 2000, Chinese translation published by Liaoning Educational Publishers, Shen Yan, 2002.

1992 Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Paperback edition 1993, reprinted 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999. Iranian translation by Reza Hoseyni & Mohammad Reza Bateni (Tehran: Vajavand, 2007).

1987 Willing and Unwilling: A Study in the Philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer (Dordrecht: Nijhoff).

Julian Young’s Amazon Author Central:

Workshop on Existential Phenomenology’, April 2014

Nietzsche and Community conference, April 2012