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 Virginia Woolf’s Anti-Philosophical Feminism: The Reinforcement of the Body and the Non-Cognitive Experience in To the Lighthouse
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (university diploma), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse demonstrates how philosophy’s dichotomisation of the mind/body and male/female is problematic and the negative consequences it causes. This essay assumes To the Lighthouse as anti-philosophical, and analyses it from that perspective. Within the anti-philosophy lies a criticism for the male dominated nature of academic discourse, and the criticism of philosophy is correlated to a questioning of philosophy’s epistemology and superior status. To the Lighthouse depicts the human mind and its different processes through a narrative style that relies heavily on metaphor to convey the non-cognitive experience, the tacit dimension of the conscious to recompose the authority of the body and the importance and influence of it. The novel is analysed in terms of its approach to knowledge, life and experience. The novel’s depiction of character experience, and of the insights that these experiences prompt, will be discussed in relation to criticism of philosophy, particularly to the disdaining approach to the non-cognitive expressed by contemporary philosophy. To the Lighthouse is full of long descriptions of the external world to mirror the characters’ individual inner life of sensory impressions, which implicitly conveys what goes on in the tacit dimension of the mind, i.e. in experience. By focusing on the tacit dimension of consciousness, Woolf is emphasising the extent to which the body and sensuous experience influence and shape human understanding. This essay explicates three things. One; the portrayal of the mind through narrative style and metaphor. Two; The aspect of sympathy and  intimacy of the conscious in sociocultural community. Three; The division and separation of mind/body and the male/female. The study takes its basis on Elisabeth Grosz’s “Refiguring Bodies”, as well as Michael Lackey’s study on the anti-philosophy in Woolf’s accumulated works.

Keywords: Virginia Woolf; To the Lighthouse; Anti-philosophy; Non-cognitive experience; Tacit Dimension of the Conscious; mind/body dichotomy, Objective Truth; Consciousness; Unconsciousness; Modernism; Narrative Technique; Subjectivity

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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113398OAI: diva2:784555
Available from: 2015-02-06 Created: 2015-01-30 Last updated: 2015-02-06Bibliographically approved

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