Lived Flesh Touch and Embodiment in Aristotle's "de Anima"

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Description: This project seeks to interrogate traditional dualisms including subject/object and mind/body through an exegetical investigation of Aristotle's account of sensation in the de Anima. In particular, I focus on the highly aporetic discussion of touch, where Aristotle identifies problems of coherence and disanalogy to the other senses while at once recognizing touch as the ground for all sentience in general and as the sine qua non of animal (though not animate) life. The difficulties inherent to Aristotle's account of touch place the de Anima at a critical juncture of the physical, biological and practical works; the concerns about animate and sentient life ultimately crystallize in an account of flesh as the corporeal and reflective site of divergence between mere being and self-directed, intentional life. I suggest that for Aristotle, as in the work of Merleau-Ponty, sensation is recognized as an embodied, embedded, psychophysical activity, and we thus discover in the de Anima a philosophy of perception which affords a primacy to touch and a privilege to flesh in initiating all active engagement in the world.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work