Flesh and Nature: Understanding Merleau-Pontys Relational Ontology

Research in Phenomenology 41 (3):327-357 (2012)
Abstract
In this paper I attempt to develop several ways Merleau-Ponty's ontology might contribute to an environmental ethic through a redefinition of his concept of flesh in terms of a general theory of affectivity. Currently accepted interpretations of the concept such as those in Abram, Toadvine, Barbaras, and Dastur rely upon conceiving flesh as a perceptual experience. I contest this interpretation and argue that a more productive conception of flesh emerges when understood in terms of Heidegger's philosophy. The paper concludes with a consideration of the normative significance of flesh by examining the role of “wildness“ within a place-based ethic
Keywords Merleau-Ponty  Nature  Relational Ontology  Flesh  Place
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David Klein-berg (1990). Justice in the Flesh. In Galen Johnson & Michael Smith (eds.), Ontology and Alterity in Merleau-Ponty. Northwestern University Press.
Rebecca Steiner Goldner (2011). Touch and Flesh in Aristotle's de Anima. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (2):435-446.
Renaud Barbaras (2000). Chiasms: Merleau-Ponty's Notion of Flesh. In Fred Evans & Leonard Lawlor (eds.). State University of New York Press. 77-87.
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