McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Embodiment, Intersubjectivity, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Plasticity, Sensation
The phenomenological approaches to embodiment presented by Levinas and Merleau-Ponty cannot provide an adequate account of bodily identity because their methodological commitments forbid them from admitting the central role that sensation plays in the constitution of experience. This neglect is symptomatic of their tradition's suspicion toward sensation as an explanatory concept, a suspicion stemming from Kant's critique of empiricist metaphysics and Husserl's critique of psychologism and objectivism. By contrast, I suggest that only with a robust theory of sensation can the integrity of the body and its relations be fully captured. I therefore develop--contra Kant and Husserl's idealism--a realist conception of sensation that is at once materialist and phenomenological.
Sparrow, T. (2009). Sensation Rebuilt: Carnal Ontology in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1228