Welcome From Tom Wartenberg, Director

Existentialism is a subject that is dear to my heart. My own introduction to philosophy as a high school student was through an anthology of the writings of the Existentialists that I picked up at a bookstore in Manhattan. Although my own philosophical interests and pursuits have altered over the course of the years – I began my academic career as a Kant scholar and now work in the fields of philosophy of film and philosophy for children – the appeal of Existentialism remains undiminished after all these years.

If you want to get a better sense of how I approach Existentialism, you can take a look at the short book I wrote on this topic, Existentialism: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld). This book is addressed to members of the general public who are interested in understanding Existentialist philosophy. Unlike other introductions to Existentialism, I draw freely on the Existentialists’ non-philosophical writings as well as on films and novels.

It might also interest you to know that I have a great deal of experience working with school teachers through my program of teaching philosophy through children’s literature. For more than ten years, I have been very involved in bringing philosophy into elementary schools. During that time, I have worked closely with teachers both one-on-one and in the context of workshops and their classrooms. Although most of my contact with teachers through this program has been with elementary school teachers, as the Vice-President of PLATO (Philosophy Learners and Teachers Organization), I have also been working with secondary school teachers. I very much look forward to the opportunity to continue working with teachers this summer.

This is the fifth NEH Summer Seminar I am teaching and I have always found the experience to be both intellectually stimulating and highly enjoyable. I have written and edited thirteen books, including one on the topic of this seminar.
You can find more information about me at my website.

Among my non-academic interests are hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, watching films, listening to classical music, reading novels, and playing the flute.