Corps propre or corpus corporum: Unity and Dislocation in the Theories of Embodiment of Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Luc Nancy

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  • This article seeks to situate Jean-Luc Nancy’s theory of embodiment in relation to Merleau-Ponty’s description of the lived body, especially as it is found in The Phenomenology of Perception. It shows that while both Nancy and Merleau-Ponty develop their view of the body through an engagement with Descartes, Nancy’s reappropriation of the Cartesian partes extra partes leads him to blur the distinction between corpus meum and alia corpora. By contrasting the radical fragmentation of Nancy’s body with the kind of unity Merleau-Ponty attributes to the lived body, I show that Nancy’s body should not be equated with the lived body or the body proper of phenomenology. This does not mean that the body is merely an object for Nancy. Bodies make sense, but this sense is inorganic rather than intentional.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International