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Lived Experiences: An Introduction to Phenomenology - PHI00117I

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Matthew Ratcliffe
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Lived Experiences provides an introduction to phenomenology, the study of lived experience, and uses this to better understand experiences associated with gender, race, disability and illness. The first part of the module introduces some core themes in the phenomenological tradition, associated with philosophers such as Husserl, Sartre, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. These themes include the phenomenological method, the body, and the experience of others. The second part of the module considers applications of the phenomenological method to understand a range of different lived experiences.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

  • To foster an appreciation of some of the key themes in the phenomenological tradition, specifically the phenomenological method, the body, and the experience of others

  • To introduce students to the critical study of demanding texts

  • To encourage students to think carefully and critically about differences between individuals and their different lived experiences

  • To help students to see the ‘real-world’ significance of various philosophical ideas and arguments.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

—understand and explain a range of key problems, issues, and debates in phenomenology and express this understanding in clear, precise, and accessible terms

—develop and articulate ranges of alternative solutions to problems and issues in phenomenology in an open-minded way, drawing on module materials

—develop and articulate arguments for the alternative solutions considered in relation to problems and issues in phenomenology, drawing on module materials, identifying some points of weakness and some potential points for development

—make a judgement about what is the best view on a particular problem in phenomenology and argue in defence of this judgement

—identify some of their strengths and weaknesses by evaluating their own work in relation to departmental marking criteria

—apply simple strategies for improving their work, based on critical reflection, advice, and feedback

—demonstrate informed sensitivity to cultural and historical context in interpreting and responding to the work of others


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will be returned within University and Departmental guidelines.

Indicative reading

Husserl, E. 1931/1960. Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology. Trans. D.

Cairns, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

Merleau-Ponty, M. 1945/2012. Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. D. Landes. London:


Hammond, M., Howarth, J. and Keat, R. 1991. Understanding Phenomenology. Oxford:


Luft, S. and Overgaard, S. 2012. The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology. London:


Young, I.M. 1980. Throwing like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment,

Motility, and Spatiality. Human Studies 3: 137-56.

Fanon. F. 1952/2008. Black Skin, White Masks. Trans. Markmann, C.L. London: Pluto Press.

Chapter 5. The Fact of Blackness (l’expérience vécue du Noir)

Toombs, S.K. 1995. The Lived Experience of Disability. Human Studies 18: 9-23.

Paul, L.A. 2015. What You Can’t Expect When You’re Expecting, Res Philosophica 92: 1-23.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.