Performing Care Ethics: Empathy, Acting, and Embodied Learning

Published In

Experiential Learning in Philosophy

Document Type


Publication Date



Chapter 4.

This chapter is based on my experience of teaching an undergraduate philosophy course, Performance, Phenomenology and Feminist Ethics. The course is based on the notion that feminist care ethics represents a paradigm shift in ethics including the idea that care is an embodied activity whereby acts of care are performed. Those physical performances result in habits of care that build caring knowledge in the body and provide the conditions for empathetic understanding. Accordingly, experiential learning is an essential element of how ethics should be taught if ethics is intended to be more than a game of normative adjudication. The course took on two interwoven tracks: dramaturgical experiential learning activities and theory readings that provided a cognitive framework for analysis. The course devotes class time to dramaturgical exercises designed to engage the corporeal and visceral aspects of caring. Students experience a high degree of personal engagement through experiential learning and attentiveness to bodily activity

Persistent Identifier