Hermeneutics of the Female Athletic Body

Open Access
Remillard, Joshua Davis
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Francisco Javier Lopez Frias, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mary Jane De Souza, Honors Advisor
  • Hermeneutics
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Hans-Georg Gadamer
  • Embodiment
  • Sport
This thesis is intended as a response to Lopez Frias and Monfort’s call for the use of hermeneutic investigation within the philosophy of sport in their paper “The hermeneutics of sport: limits and conditions of possibility of our understandings of sport” (Lopez Frias & Monfort, 2016). My goal is to give an account of a hermeneutic investigation into the female athletic body and show the merits of using hermeneutic methodologies for this kind of investigation. To do so, I will begin by examining common philosophical methodologies used to understand the body, including Cartesianism, phenomenology, and poststructuralism. I will draw on the work of philosophers identified as central figures in these traditions Rene Descartes, Edmund Husserl, and Michel Foucault respectively, and illustrate some difficulties found in each of these philosophers’ works. I will then go on to show how a hermeneutic investigation can be used to resolve these issues and provide a more complete understanding of female athletic bodies. To do this, I will draw on important figures in hermeneutics and feminist philosophy as well as in the philosophy of sport, including Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger, Simone de Beauvoir and Iris Marion Young. I will use the hermeneutic framework provided by Gadamer and Heidegger to expand the ideas presented by de Beauvoir and Young. Using these ideas, I will show how the hermeneutic method can be used to understand the contemporary practice of sex testing in sport.