Haverford College
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Description:: This course will examine different conceptions of the mind, the body, and the relation between mind and body. We will discuss the traditional primacy given to reason over the body, the ascetic ideal behind this primacy, the ancient Greek concept of the mortal body as a prison or a tomb for the immortal soul, and the rethinking of the lived body today in terms of gender. animality, and natality.

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Philosophy 106b


The Philosophy of Consciousness and the Problem of Embodiment


Kathleen Wright





Description:: This course will examine different conceptions of the mind, the body, and the relation between mind and body. We will discuss the traditional primacy given to reason over the body, the ascetic ideal behind this primacy, the ancient Greek concept of the mortal body as a prison or a tomb for the immortal soul, and the rethinking of the lived body today in terms of gender. animality, and natality.





Course Requirements: Weekly one-page response papers, three short papers, and a final oral examination.





Required Texts: Arendt, The Human Condition, Aristotle, On the Soul, Descartes, Meditations, Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Plato, The Republic and Phaedrus





Course Outline





Part One: The Primacy of Mind over Body


Week 1 Aristotle, On the Soul


Week 2 Aristotle, On the Soul


Week 3 Descartes, Meditations


Week 4 Descartes, Meditations





Part Two: On the Ascetic Ideal


Week 5 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality


Week 6 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality


Week 7 Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason: ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy (selections) and Elizabeth Spelman, “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views”





Part Three: The Mortal Body as a Prison or a Tomb for the Immortal Soul


Week 8 Plato, The Republic


Week 9 Plato, The Republic


Week 10 Plato, Phaedrus


Week 11 Plato, Phaedrus


Week 12 Luce Irigaray, “Plato’s Hystera” and Sabina Lovibond, “Feminism and ancient philosophy: The feminist stake in Greek rationalism”





Part Four: Rethinking Embodiment from Natality


Week 13 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition


Week 14 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition