Philosophy and sexual Difference (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Wanda Tommasi
Wanda Tommasi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 18, 2019 al Mar 30, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to grasp philosophy in light of the difference between men and women, with the underlying assumption that sexual difference means something as far as the mind’s behaviour is concerned. The sexual difference’s theory is a new and original perspective of feminism in contemporary philosophy. At the end of the course, students will be requested to show knowledge, understanding and critical thinking of the presented authors and texts.


A good use of the disease. Women and men facing psychological distress
The course will explore the relationship between reason and madness according to some contemporary authors. Moreover, this will serve as a basis to discuss the eventual difference between women and men in dealing with the psychic disease.
Firstly, the paranoid tendency of Rousseau’s last years will be cited, as well as Jacob Lenz’s mental illness, whose story was then construed by Büchner in the eighteenth century and by Ingeborg Bachmann in the nineteenth century.
Secondly, we will focus on writings by/about the relevant authors. In this sense, we will analyse the relationship between health and illness trough Nietzsche’s works and life. Then, we will consider “Pessimistic Cardinal Propositions” by Helene von Druskowitz, a strong accusation against misogyny. Furthermore, the letters with his brother Theo will serve as a way to analyse the relationship between genius and madness in the life of Vincent Van Gogh. Finally, we will try to show a possible “good use” of Virginia Woolf’s disease, a manic depression, in order to enhance her artistic creativity.
In summary, the course will deal with:
1. Comments on Nietzsche’s Ecce homo;
2. Analysis of Pessimistic Cardinal Propositions by Helene von Druskowitz
3. Reading of parts of Lettere a Theo by Vincent Van Gogh;
4. Virginia Woolf
5. Relationship between reason and madness

Nietzsche, Friedrich, Ecce Homo. Come si diventa ciò che si è, Adelphi, Milano 1969
Von Druskowitz, Helene, Vademecum per gli spiriti più liberi. Proposizioni cardinali pessimistiche, Castelvecchi, Roma 2017
Van Gogh, Vincent, Lettere a Theo, Guanda, Milano 2017
Woolf, Virginia, La signora Dalloway, Mondadori, Milano 1989
Tommasi Wanda, La ragione alla prova della follia, Liguori, Napoli 2018

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Nietzsche Friedrich Ecce homo Adelphi 1969
Tommasi Wanda La ragione alla prova della follia Liguori 2018
Woolf La signora Dalloway Mondadori 1989
Van Gogh Lettere a Theo Guanda 2017
Von Druskowitz Helene Vademecum per gli spiriti più liberi. Proposizioni cardinali pessimistiche Castelvecchi 2017

Assessment methods and criteria

oral exam. The exam’s purpose is to assess students’ knowledge and understanding of the covered topics and to evaluate the ability to compare the authors acquired by the students. Non-attending students are requested to contact the lecturer to agree on the exam program. The vote will be expressed in thirtieths. The difference between attending and non-attending students will be taken into account.