Download Body Thoughts by Andrew Strathern PDF

By Andrew Strathern

Presents an outstanding evaluation of anthropological concept at the physique

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Example text

Hence the notion of "being-in-the-world" (similar to Heidegger's idea of Dasein). Percep- tion has to do with figure-background formations, which are always conditioned by the position of the observer's body, and this fact can therefore never be omitted-as also by full functioning of the brain. Such an argument is well fitted to the analysis of habits, and Merleau- Ponty argues that acquiring these is like fitting objects and the body together. He uses a good example: adjustment to an unfamiliar car.

39 121). This is the prereflective cogito that Merleau-Ponty has been at pains to establish through his inquiry into the nature of perception. We can use it as a general, cross-cultural category while recognizing that the concept already implies variation, since each world that is grasped is a culturally different one. It is in any case a statement of the union of soul and body that Descartes sought vainly to explicate, and it achieves its solution to Descartes's problem by abolishing it in favor of a pri- mordial totality.

Other internal organs of the body were also considered the seats of specific capacities. Anger, cholos, was literally seen as bile, which could enter the heart and lungs but emerged from the liver. " Thoughts 46 Body Thoughts and cares, seen as arrows shot by the gods, could pierce the liver and were imaged as keres, small winged creatures. Breath was thought to enter the liver and replenish it, via the thumos, and so help to heal it. The liver thus seems to have been given a passive agency while the stom- ach, gaster, was credited with active appetite, for food, drink, and also sexual activity.

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