Contemporary Thought




The goals set by this course can be summarized in the following outline:  

(i)                learning plan/knowledge acquisition:  

  • conceptualize the key concepts of modernity as well as their evolution into contemporary culture
  • discern the major role played by scientific and technoscientific rationality in our contemporary comprehension of our social and personal worlds
  • understand, by way of analysis of representative philosophical, literary and film works, the close and complex connections between the objective representation of the world and our subjective comprehension of it

 (ii) skills acquisition plan:  

  • approach aspects of contemporary culture in an act of critical appropriation which encompasses pertinent strategies of axiological and self-understanding
  • contextualize phenomena of contemporary culture in a diachronic, dynamic perspective
  • communicate in oral and written form the (self-)understanding of contemporary culture in a thoughtful and coherent manner for the purpose of fomenting ongoing critical debate


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Christopher Damien Auretta


Weekly - 3

Total - 42

Teaching language



For students who are at least in their second year of university studies. 



Giddens, Anthony. O Mundo na Era da Globalização [Runaway World]. (2002).


Gedeão, António. RTX-78/24. (1963) 

Kafka, Franz. A Metamorfose. (1999) 

Kant, Immanuel. "What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

Multi-media resources: podcasts, documentaires, films, and other relevant sites.


Teaching method

Analysis of representative sites of our technico-scientific modernity, readings of excerpts of essays and/or literary works, the viewing of (excerpts of) films pertinent to the representation of modernity, debates on concepts and themes relating to contemporary culture, the elaboration of written essays and an oral presentation.


1. Weekly debates: analysis of sites, readings of excerpts of essays and/or excerpts of literary works before and during classes, the viewing of films pertinent to the representation of modernity, debates on concepts and themes relating to contemporary culture in accordance with the central themes of the Program throughout the semestre.

2. The preparation of a Thinker''s Travelogue based on selected topics discussed throughout the semestre. Students are asked to write brief reflections on these and/or related topics of their choosing in the context of the contemporary world. 

3. The preparation of an oral presentation with power point or in essay form.


Evaluation method

Please speak directly with the teacher of this seminar. 

Subject matter

Contemporary culture and western modenrity

Technico-scientific progress and ethical  challenges

Technico-scientific knowledge-creation and the persistence of evil

The digital dissolution of boundaries and political, economic, and cultural globalization and the resurgence of fundamentalisms

The transformation of time-space perception vis-a-vis inherited cultural forms

The struggle for the recognition of individual rights and western modernity as emancipatory process of the subject

The natural body and its bio-technological reinvention

Consquences of Anthony Gidden''s concepts of tradition, family, risk, democracy and globalization.


Programs where the course is taught: