Evening School Sem1 2024

Two courses running March - June

The Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy is proud to present the Evening School Sem1 2024 curriculum.  All courses are 24 hours in length.  As always significant discounts apply for those enrolling in multiple courses. If you have any questions which aren't in our FAQs please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

When: 11 March - 6 June

Where: Nicholas Building, Level 9, Rooms 18-20, 37 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000 and online via Zoom. Also it's worth noting that Melbourne (AEDT) is 11 hours ahead of UTC. This returns to AEST on the 7th of April, 2024 and is 10 hours ahead of UTC.

Payment: All payment must be made via credit card during enrolment.

Distance Enrolment: Please note that distance students will have access to the live Zoom lectures as well as access to the recordings of these lectures.  For in-person students the recorded lectures will be released to students at the end of the semester.

Fees (AUD):

Courses Waged Unwaged
1 $265 $180
2 $330 $220


Semester One Programme

2 hours per week for 12 weeks

Mon 6:30-8:30pm
Starts 11 Mar
Works of Gilles Deleuze (part 1)
Lecturer: Jon Roffe
Thu 6:30-8:30pm
Starts 14 Mar
The Freedom of the Devil: power, politics and critique from Hobbes to de Sade
Lecturer: Jon Rubin


Course Descriptions

Works of Gilles Deleuze (part 1)

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Starts: Mon 6:30-8:30pm 11 Mar

Full Schedule: March 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, (Break), 20, 27, June 3

Location: Nicholas Building (Level 9, Rooms 18-20), 37 Swanston St, Melbourne and online via Zoom.

This course comprises part one of a full-year program that will present a survey of all of the works of Gilles Deleuze. The course will be structured around a single requirement - to read and discuss each book entirely on its own terms. We will not, therefore, be looking to construct 'the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze' but just to understand, in miniature, each of his works. In this way, the aim will be to appreciate the specificity and richness of these works without subordinating them to the register of generality. The final week of the semester will be devoted to questions and discussion of the works we have discussed so far. The second part of this course will be delivered in semester two 2024. 

Readings: each week, two short readings will be provided. The first will be an extract from the work under discussion, while the second will be from an interview, or some other work, that casts light on Deleuze's aims.

Level: Intermediate. No familiarity with Deleuze's philosophy will be presumed, but his works are rich and sometimes challenging.

Course Schedule

11 March Week 1 Empiricism and Subjectivity
18 March Week 2 Nietzsche and Philosophy
25 March Week 3 Kant’s Critical Philosophy
1 April Week 4 Bergsonism
8 April Week 5 Proust and Signs
15 April Week 6 Masochism
22 April Week 7 Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza
29 April Week 8 Difference and Repetition 1
6 May Week 9 Difference and Repetition 2
13 May   BREAK
20 May Week 10 Logic of Sense 1
27 May Week 11 Logic of Sense 2
3 June Week 12 Q&A

The Freedom of the Devil: power, politics and critique from Hobbes to de Sade

Lecturer: Jon Rubin

Starts: Thu 6:30-8:30pm 14 Mar

Full Schedule: March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, (Break), May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6

Location: Nicholas Building (Level 9, Rooms 18-20), 37 Swanston St, Melbourne and online via Zoom.

Sometimes, people can be wrong on the internet.

But if you’re very lucky they can be interestingly wrong:

“Surely the Devil is more free than God, because God can only do good things, whilst the Devil can do whatever they want to?”

This semi-rhetorical question from the website formerly known as Twitter made me pause. If we know literally no theology, then there does seem to be some obvious truth to this claim: You can only do good things. I can do all those things and bad things. The space of possible actions is in some (very hard to make rigorous) way larger for me than you. If we think that freedom is correlated with possible actions, then if I have more possible actions than you, then I am more free than you. Q.E.D. 

I will not consider any of the theological stakes or stupidities in this question; I rather want this question to illuminate a primarily metaphysical and politico-economic problem. I have stated that there does seem to be some obvious truth to this claim. To illustrate, consider both the negative and positive concepts of liberty. Both have to agree that the Devil is freer than God. However, like most things that seem to be obviously true, it was not that long ago that it was patently nonsense. Transforming an absurdity into a truism, or vice versa, does not happen overnight. This course will be examining the century-long battle to establish the overwhelming freedom of the devil, albeit in human form, a battle between libertinage and an array of opponents, some reactionary, some revolutionary.

What, though, is the contemporary urgency of this battle of ideas? We are compelled to revisit these arguments because the presuppositions that lie behind the assumption that the Devil is more free, as well as those that denied it, are still at work today, though in a more secular guise. We find the Devil’s party on the side of homo-oeconomicus and the idea that there are no deeper truths behind revealed preferences. All choices are equally valid and the more options one has, the freer one is. Opposing this idea we have various strands of critical thought. Whether we can reconstruct the theoretical tools that allow us to find a way of evaluating our choices that avoids either the libertine’s everything is permitted because all has melted into air, or an obnoxious essentialism, will be the question for the conclusion of this course. 

Course Schedule

14 March  Week 1 Lukes: three dimensions of power: setting up the problem (Lukes, Power: A Radical View)
21 March Week 2 Augustine: the fullness of being, the irreatlity of evil, and the bondage of the devil; selections from On Order and The City of God
28 March Week 3 Hobbes I: bodies in motion, an end to essences (selections from de Corpore and Leviathan)
4 April Week 4 Hobbes II: the anti-republican moment (Skinner Hobbes and Republican Liberty, Liberty Before Liberalism)
11 April Week 5 Rochester: the libertine revolt (A Ramble in St. James’s Park, Satyr on Reason and Mankind)
18 April Week 6 Spinoza I: plenitude and immanence (Ethics, TTP)
25 April   BREAK
2 May Week 7 Spinoza II: Epicurean politics (Field, Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics, Vardoulakis Spinoza, the Epicurean: authority and utility in materialism)
9 May Week 8 The Sentimental Reaction I: Hume (Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Feltham Destroy and Liberate: Political Action on the Basis of Hume)
16 May Week 9 The Sentimental Reaction II: Adam Smith (Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Montag The Other Adam Smith)
23 May Week 10 De Sade I: Nature and immorality (de Sade, Philosophy in the Bedroom, Klossowski Sade my neighbor)
30 May Week 11 De Sade II: The freedom of the Devil (de Sade, selections from Juliette, Sawhney Must we burn Sade? & The Divine Sade)
6 June Week 12 Conclusion: the polyvalence of interest

Course Descriptions