Body integrity identity disorder (BIID), formerly also known as apotemnophilia, is characterized by a desire for amputation of a healthy limb and is claimed to straddle or to even blur the boundary between psychiatry and neurology. The neurological line of approach, however, is a recent one, and is accompanied or preceded by psychodynamical, behavioural, philosophical, and psychiatric approaches and hypotheses. Next to its confusing history in which the disorder itself has no fixed identity and could not be classified under a (...) specific discipline, its sexual component has been an issue of unclarity and controversy, and its assessment a criterion for distinguishing BIID from apotemnophilia, a paraphilia. Scholars referring to the lived body—a phenomenon primarily discussed in the phenomenological tradition in philosophy—seem willing to exclude the sexual component as inessential, whereas other authors notice important similarities with gender identity disorder or transsexualism, and thus precisely focus attention on the sexual component. This contribution outlines the history of BIID highlighting the vicissitudes of its sexual component, and questions the justification for distinguishing BIID from apotemnophilia and thus for omitting the sexual component as essential. Second, we explain a hardly discussed concept from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception (1945a), the sexual schema, and investigate how the sexual schema could function in interaction with the body image in an interpretation of BIID which starts from the lived body while giving the sexual component its due. (shrink)
A idéia deste artigo é tentar demonstrar, através da construção da personagem Capitu feita por Bentinho, como o romance Dom Casmurro, em alguma medida, se apropria do mito de Helena, principalmente da versão relatada por Eurípides em tragédia homônima. As duas personagens não têm em comum somente o fato de serem consideradas adúlteras — sem que isso possa ser comprovado nas respectivas narrativas —, mas um todo ficcional que nos leva a essa relação.
A literatura cria e recria personagens femininos que marcaram gerações, mas nenhuma personagem foi tão “recriada” nem marcou tanto quanto Helena. Este artigo resgata uma dessas recriações, como uma doce lembrança que apazigua os corações: a versão de Eurípides, encenada em 412 a.C. A sedutora, mas traidora Helena passa a ser um ardil divino, pois a verdadeira Helena é virtuosa e não está em Tróia, mas no Egito, esperando que o desígno dos deuses se cumpra, que Tróia (...) seja destruída e que, finalmente, Menelau a leve de volta ao lar. A Helena de Troia, portanto, não passa de um eídolon; reler Helena de Eurípides é uma oportunidade de se repensar o lugar dessa personagem na história e na literatura. Essa é a nossa proposta. (shrink)
This article presents two different phenomenological paths leading from ego to alter ego: a Husserlian and a Merleau-Pontian way of thinking. These two phenomenological paths serve to disentangle the conceptual–philosophical underpinning of the mirror neurons system hypothesis, in which both ways of thinking are entwined. A Merleau-Pontian re-reading of the mirror neurons system theory is proposed, in which the characteristics of mirror neurons are effectively used in the explanation of action understanding and imitation. This proposal uncovers the remaining necessary presupposition (...) of a minimalized version of the Husserlian concept of pairing and its recent and improved version in terms of the intermodal system. This leads to a layered approach to the constitution of intersubjectivity. (shrink)
This paper investigates the role of a pre-existing body-model that is an enabling constraint for the incorporation of objects into the body. This body-model is also a basis for the distinction between body extensions (e.g., in the case of tool-use) and incorporation (e.g., in the case of successful prosthesis use). It is argued that, in the case of incorporation, changes in the sense of body-ownership involve a reorganization of the body-model, whereas extension of the body with tools does not involve (...) changes in the sense of body-ownership. (shrink)
This article argues for a more rigorous distinction between body extensions on the one hand and incorporation of non-bodily objects into the body on the other hand. Real re-embodiment would be a matter of taking things (most often technologies) into the body, i.e. of incorporation of non-bodily items into the body. This, however, is a difficult process often limited by a number of conditions of possibility that are absent in the case of ‘mere’ body extensions. Three categories are discussed: limb (...) extensions/prostheses, perceptual extensions/prostheses and cognitive extensions/prostheses. For each category, a distinction between extensions and incorporations is proposed, and the conditions of possibility for real incorporation are discussed. These conditions of possibility differ in each category, but in general they ask for radical or fundamental alterations not only in the motor and/or sensory or cognitive constitution of a human subject, but also in his or her subjective experience. (shrink)
The phenomenological tradition has had a long interest in embodiment, and bodily experience beyond the confines of the “skinbag” body. Here I respond to Helena De Preester’s analysis of different types of protheses: limb, perceptual, cognitive. In her paper “Technology and the body: the (im)possibilities of re-embodiment”, she wants to make finer distinctions between extensions and incorporations . Today’s hi-tech developments make this refinement necessary and possible. I respond to the three levels or types of prostheses taking note (...) of the increasing difficulty at each level and express certain worries about cognitively framed notions of bodily experience. (shrink)
Several recent accounts claim that imagination is a matter of simulating perceptual acts. Although this point of view receives support from both phenomenological and empirical research, I claim that Jean-Paul Sartre's worry formulated in L'imagination (1936) still holds. For a number of reasons, Sartre heavily criticizes theories in which the sensory material of imaginative acts consists in reviving sensory impressions. Based on empirical and philosophical insights, this article explains how simulation theories of imagination can overcome Sartre's critique by paying attention (...) to the motor dimension of imagination. Intending to clarify the status of the sensory in imagination, a motor theory of imagination is presented in which the sensory component of imagination is interpreted in terms of anticipated sensory consequences of preparation for motor action. (shrink)
This paper analyses the actual meaning of a transcendental philosophy of biology, and does so by exploring and actualising the epistemological and metaphysical value of Kant's viewpoint on living systems. It finds inspiration in the Kantian idea of living systems intrinsically resisting objectification, but critically departs from Kant's philosophical solution in as far as it is based in a subjectivist dogmatism. It attempts to overcome this dogmatism, on the one hand by explicitly taking into account the conditions of possibility at (...) the side of the subject, and on the other hand by embedding both the living and the knowing system into an ontology of complexly organized dynamical systems. This paper fits into the transcendental perspective in acknowledging the need to analyse the conditions of knowability, prior to the contents of what is known. But it also contributes to an expansion and an actualisation of the issue of transcendentality itself by considering the conditions of possibility at the side of the object as intrinsically linked to the conditions of possibility at the side of the subject. (shrink)
The main suggestions and objections raised by Don Ihde and Charles Lenay to my ‘Technology and the body: the (im)possibilities of re-embodiment’ are summarized and discussed. On the one hand, I agree that we should pay more attention to whole body experience and to further resisting Cartesian assumptions in the field of cognitive neuroscience and philosophy of cognition. On the other hand, I explain that my account in no way presupposes the myth of ‘natural man’ or of a natural, delineated (...) body from before the fall into technology. (shrink)
After a brief introduction to Kuipers' views on explanations of laws we argue that micro-explanations of laws can have two formats: they work either by aggregation and transformation (as Kuipers suggests) or by means of function ascriptions (Kuipers neglects this possibility). We compare both types from an epistemic point of view (which information is needed to construct the explanation?) and from a means-end perspective (do both types serve the same purposes? are they equally good?).
For a long time the Western world was in a state of denial about the human body. There were conventions governing its representation and it could be regarded as an element of discourse. Between 1636 and 1638, Peter Paul Rubens painted a portrait of his second wife, Helena Fourment, entitled The little fur. This may be a turning-point in the perception of the body. We see in this work that the skin of this 22-year-old woman has lost its elasticity, (...) her breasts are not symmetrical and her ankles are pink, contrasting with the pearly white of the rest of her body. The inside of her left thigh shows signs of a varicose saphenous vein. While today’s doctors can suggest the possibility of venous insufficiency and benign familial hyperelasticity, and talk of the consequences of breast-feeding, what this canvas is doing above all is showing the body of a real, named individual, “warts and all”. This may be one of the first portraits of a body in the history of European painting. (shrink)