Philosophy and the Body - ARTS2910

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Humanities and Languages

Course Outline: School of Humanities & Languages

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3

Enrolment Requirements:

Prerequisite: 30 units of credit at Level 1

CSS Contribution Charge: 1 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

Available for General Education: Yes (more info)

View course information for previous years.


Subject Area: Women's and Gender Studies
This course can also be studied in the following specialisation: Philosophy

How has the way we understand the body developed and changed in response to social change? And what kind of body does Western philosophy assume, when it addresses the body at all? Is the body always already a gendered body? This course introduces students to ideas about the body and how embodiment has been theorised by the Western philosophical tradition. The course will consider the apparent relationship between the body and ‘the human’, the body and reason, and the body and creativity, among other questions. A guiding thread for the course is the question: Is the body always already a gendered body? Early modern philosophy from Descartes pitted the body against the mind, and also identified 'man' with the mind while 'woman' was understood to be associated with bodily processes. The course prompts students to ask: What has been the significance of this way of thinking about the relation of body and mind to gender politics? How have philosophers, and particularly philosophers of feminism, challenged this schema? And to what extent does contemporary philosophy continue to struggle with the question of the body?

Key philosophers the course covers may include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson, Freud, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir, Foucault, Deleuze, Butler, Irigaray, Kristeva, Lloyd, Harraway, Bordo, Marion-Young, Ahmed, Grosz and Diprose.

Study Levels

UNSW Quick Links