nl en

Body and Embodiment


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Philosophy of Mind, or Concepts of Selfhood.

  • pre-master’s students for whom this course has been specified on their admission statement.


The course investigates the ways in which the fact of human embodiment affect all other philosophical concerns, including ontological, political, ethical and epistemological issues. It takes its starting point in the well-known neglect of the body by philosophers from Plato to Descartes in order to bring out a more minor but constant tradition that upholds the importance of the fact of embodiment (from the Stoics to Pascal and Spinoza). It then focuses on the several dimensions of the body as investigated by post-Kantian philosophy in the last two centuries through a discussion of the intentional body (Nietzsche, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty), embodied cognition (Gibson, Noe) and the politicization of the body (Kantorowicz, Freud, Marx, Foucault) critical race and gender studies, and how they interact with a persistent Cartesian tradition in neurophilosophy in particular.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide the students with a clear view of:

  • the history of the concept of body in Western philosophy;

  • the current state of the debate around embodiment;

  • the implications of the fact of embodiment for epistemology, political philosophy and ontology.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the history of the debates surrounding embodiment (including the mind-body problem, the debates around the metaphysics of the body as material, spiritual, objective, organic, structural or intentional);

  • the metaphysical importance of embodiment;

  • the relations between the philosophical and scientific views of the body.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically understand and interconnect the major texts and theories relative to embodiment;

  • present a consistent view of the current problems of the field.


See: BA Filosofie

  • Filosofie, BA3 – BA Plus-traject or Standaardtraject

See: BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

  • Philosophy, BA3 - Global and Comparative Perspectives

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load (10 EC x 28 hrs): 280 hours

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 14 × 3 hours = 42 hours

  • Time for studying literature: 80 hours

  • Preparation for seminars: 40 hours

  • Assignments: 44 hours

  • Presentation: 20 hours

  • Preparation assignments: 54 hours

Assessment method


  • Oral reading report on a primary text and abstract (30%)

  • Paper on a question agreed in advance based on abstract submitted (70%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtests.


The resit will be a thoroughly demanding survey take-home exam covering the entirety of the course materials, and including a text commentary, a series of short questions and an argumentative essay.

Class participation and completion of practical assignments such as the oral presentation is a mandatory requirement for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


We will use Blackboard for:

  • posting texts, general information documents (syllabus etc), assignments and updates.

Reading list

  • Alva Noe, Action in Perception, MIT Press, 2004.

In addition to the Noe's book, several extracts of which we shall use, a reading schedule (including shorter texts) and a syllabus will be made available on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. F. Chouraqui


Not applicable.