At the Existentialist Café


Course Description

Where does meaning come from? Do we make it for ourselves, and if so, how? According to existentialism, “existence precedes essence”: First we come to be, then we (must) define the meaning of our being. What is the freedom to make meaning worth if we don’t have the option of refusing it? How can radically free beings act responsibly? If freedom is the definitive quality of being human, what then of aspects of our lives over which we have little or no control, such as love, death, suffering, ignorance, passion? Sarah Bakewell asserts that existentialism strongly informs our current views on such questions, which is why, “when reading Sartre on freedom, de Beauvoir on oppression, Kierkegaard on anxiety, Camus on rebellion, Heidegger on technology, or Merleau-Ponty on cognitive science one feels one is reading the latest news.” We will read Bakewell’s highly accessible At the Existentialist Café as a way of entering into these and related questions concerning freedom, suffering, and meaning.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, Sarah Bakewell (ISBN: 9780701186586)
    • The Plague (The Modern Classics edition), Albert Camus translated by Robin Buss and edited by Tony Judt (ISBN: 9780141185132)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Thursday 16 March 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Imogen Brian, Vincent Leuzy, Esther Spector

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)
$135.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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