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Simone de Beauvoir and the feminist revolution

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In this free course you will study the ideas of philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986). In doing so you will also briefly study the philosophy of Beauvoir’s lifelong partner, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The type of philosophy that links them is called ‘existentialism’. Beauvoir and Sartre are the foremost philosophers of French existentialism. You will read extracts of Beauvoir’s work and learn about the existential view of the human being as free and responsible for his or her actions. You will discover that Beauvoir argues that women are generally conceived of as ‘Other’, that is different from a supposed neutral human being.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A113 Revolutions63and is part of a set of four OpenLearn courses, covering Revolutions of the Sixties64.


Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • get acquainted with the works and ideas of twentieth-century philosopher Simone de Beauvoir
  • develop an understanding of the key ideas of existentialism, its conception of the human being, freedom and the ‘Other’
  • develop your ability to analyse modern philosophical texts
  • develop your critical skills by evaluating philosophical ideas.

First Published: 24/03/2021

Updated: 24/03/2021

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