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The notions of expressiveness, body image and libido for a philosophy of the flesh in Merleau-Ponty

Grant number: 12/14330-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Fundamentals and Assessments in Psychology
Principal researcher:Reinaldo Furlan
Grantee:Reinaldo Furlan
Host: Etienne Bimbenet
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Jean Moulin Lyon III, France  


Expressiveness, body image and libido are key notions that accompany the development of Merleau-Ponty's work. The aim is to investigate and articulate these notions in the formation of the concept of flesh in the last period of the philosopher's work. We highlight the courses on the concept of Nature at the Collège de France, which retake the theme of the first book, The Structure of Behavior, from the perspective of a deeper ontological review, previous to the distinction between consciousness and object. From this point of view the retake of research on animal's behavior in the light of the modern biology, especially ethology and evolutionary theory, in order to understand the entry of man in the history of life. As Merleau-Ponty says about it, first of all we must understand humanity as "another form of embodiment." In this context the importance of the concept of body image, which express a system of intersensorial equivalences that compose the trans-spatial and transtemporal unity of the world in the body, which can be understood through the notion of flesh: the body "sees itself seeing, touches itself touching, that is, its movements have an inside, its inside has an outside." Merleau-Ponty makes use of the Freudian concept of Eros to understand this movement of life connected with the world and the others, this "Gestalt pregnant with embodiment". Ultimately, the body, while esthesiology, is already desire, a system of exchanges with the world and other body image (bodies that also perceive), where the conventional language represents a new libidinal investment, which establishes a new idea of reason. (AU)

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