Universität Wien FIND

180063 SE The Responsive Body (2017S)

Bodily Self-Experience between Absence, Presence and Anonymity

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


max. 30 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 09.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 16.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 23.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 30.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 06.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 27.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 04.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 11.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 18.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 01.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 08.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 22.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 29.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 29.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Course Description

What is the role of the body for our self-experience? How do we experience the body as our own? In which ways does our body escape us and what is the significance of such experiences for understanding ourselves as agents? Whereas the body in a phenomenological context is the medium for understanding and for having a world, the body is at the same time one that escapes our full experiential grasp and control. The bodily involuntary as well as bodily anonymity and experienced absence are aspects that we will address in reflecting on the phenomenology of the responsive body. We will investigate ways in which the body is something given to us, something coming to us, something we receive and respond to. We will explore the role of exteriority, object-hood, anonymity, affectivity, passivity and the non-presence of the body in human self-experience as discussed by authors such as Nancy, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Waldenfels, Nussbaum, Leder and others.


The aim of this course is to provide an overview of the philosophical debates surrounding the question of bodily self-awareness and bodily self-experience. While bearing in mind that anonymity, inter-subjectivity, illness and self-alienation might affect us on a daily basis, the aim of the course is to provide the necessary conceptual tools for understanding how that can be the case. The course will introduce a set of questions relevant for any debate on bodily self-experience, intentionality and affectivity. By the end of the course the student will be capable of orienting him or herself in the classical and current debates in phenomenology concerning embodiment, bodily self-consciousness, selfhood, and inter-subjectivity. Further the students will be able to contextualize these issues in relation to our everyday life. Finally, the students will practice their fundamental philosophical skills in assessing and presenting arguments as they will be giving oral presentations as well as writing short critical essays on topics focused on in class.


Close reading of texts, joint discussion, oral presentations, written reflections, written essays. All readings for this course will be available on Moodle.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

The two essays should be submitted
1) 12:00 Thursday June 29th, 2016
2) 12:00 Thursday July 27th, 2016
Papers can be submitted in German or English. Further guidelines will be uploaded on Moodle. Each essay will be given written feedback.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab


- Attendance: The students should attend 10 or more seminars out of 13.

- Preparation: The students are expected to read the texts carefully before class and be prepared to discuss the texts in class.

- Presentation: The students are expected to give one oral presentation of the central arguments of one of the readings during the semester.

- Reflection: The students are expected to upload 6 seminar reflections of ½ -1 page MAXIMUM on Moodle. The reflections must be uploaded 24 hours before we meet in class.

- Understanding: Finally, the students are expected to submit two short essays on topics discussed in class while covering at least two of the assigned texts from the syllabus. The essays are expected to be of MAXIMUM 2000-2500 words each.



Lecture Plan

Seminar 1: March 9th

Introduction: On not being at one with oneself
General introduction to the topic of our seminar.
Drew Leder: The Absent Body (1990), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-35

Bernhard Waldenfels: Phenomenology of the Alien: Basic Concepts (2011) Evanston: Northwestern University Press, Chapters 2-4

A. Touch and Exteriority: the disintegrated body

Seminar 2, March 16th:
Jean-Louis Crétien: “Body and Touch” in The Call and the Response (2004), New York: Fordham University Press, pp. 81-131

Seminar 3, March 23rd:
Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy: Second Book (1952/1989) Trans. Rojcewicz and Schuwer) Dordrecht: Kluwer, §§35-42

Seminar 4, March 30th:
Jacques Derrida: On touching – Jean-Luc Nancy¸(2005) Stanford: Standford University Press, § 8: Tangent II, pp. 159-182

Seminar 5, April 6th:
Jean-Luc Nancy: “On the Soul”, “The Extension of the Soul” in Corpus, New York: Fordham University Press, pp. 122-44 and
Jacques Derrida: On touching – Jean-Luc Nancy¸(2005) Stanford: Standford University Press, §9: Tangent III, pp. 183-216pp.

B. The body-for-Others: intersubjectivity and vulnerability

Seminar 6, April 27th:
Martha C. Nussbaum: “Objectification” in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1995), pp. 249-291

Seminar 7, May 5th:
Stephen Burwood: “The apparent truth of dualism and the uncanny body” in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, (2008), 7: pp. 263-278

Seminar 8, May 11th:
Emmanuel Levinas: Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (trans. by Alphonso Lingis) (1981/2006) Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, Chapter 3, pp.61-97

C. The non-present body: anonymity and the bodily involuntary

Seminar 9, May 18th:
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Phenomenology of Perception, Part III, section III: pp.458-483 and

Sarah Heinäamaa: “Anonymity and Personhood: Merleau-Ponty’s account of the subject of perception” in Continental Philosophy Review, (2015) 48: pp.123-142

Seminar 10, June 1st:
Maria Talero: “Merleau-Ponty and the bodily subject of Learning” in International Philosophical Quaterly, Vol. 46, No. 2, Issue 182 (2006), pp. 191-203

Seminar 11, June 8th:
Jacques Derrida: Voice and Phenomenon, (1967/2011) (trans. L. Lawlor) Evanston: Northwestern University Press, Chapters 5-6, pp. 51-74 and
Mladen Dolar: A Voice and Nothing More (2006), Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT press, Introduction + chapter 1, pp. 2-31

Seminar 12, June 22nd:
Jonathan Lear: “Restlessness, Phantasy, and the Concept of Mind” in Open Minded. Working Out the Logic of the Soul, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp. 80-122

Seminar 13, June 29th:
Thomas Fuchs: “Corporealized and Disembodied Minds: A Phenomenological View of the Body in Melancholia and Schizophrenia” in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Vol. 12, Number 2, (2005): pp. 95-107

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

M3 B. Metaphysik/ Ontologie, Phänomenologie, Philosophie des Geistes
UF MA PP 02A Seminar aus Theoretische Philosophie

Letzte Änderung: Fr 31.08.2018 08:52