Cultivating ethos through the body

Human Studies 23 (1):23-42 (2000)
Abstract
The paper lays the groundwork for understanding Heidegger's original ethics in the context of embodiment. I draw upon Merleau-Ponty's account of the flesh to develop a new ontology of embodiment as the basis for ethics. This ontology is formulated by integrating three unique accounts of the embodiment, namely, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, Yuasa Yasuo's Eastern-based phenomenology of the body, and the emerging science of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). In each of these accounts of embodiment, the flesh is revealed as simultaneously consisting of presence and absence, incarnation and transcendence, being and consciousness. As a result, the Heideggerian approach to ethics, which is based upon the relationship we have with being, can be realized on many levels of embodiment. This makes the cultivation of a holistic ethos more feasible. Such an ethos overcomes the shortcomings in Heidegger's ethics and, in particular, those revealed by Levinas, Levin, Krell, and Caputo.
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