Research in Phenomenology 50 (1):17-30 (2020)

Marketa Jakesova
Charles University, Prague
This paper aims to explore and expand Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion of the body as a mass as he drafted it in his “On the Soul” lecture. He conceptualizes the soul as the reflection of the fact that we have a body, thus the conception of the body as a mass may offer possibilities to think the body outside or prior to this reflection. In the article, I expand on three types of bodies. The first of these possibilities is an abstracted body Nancy ascribed to St. Augustine, a body which has been criticized by feminist scholars like Judith Butler. The second one is a hypothetical pre-body proposed by the object-oriented philosopher Graham Harman that may have existed before the actual body emerges. The last one is the disintegrated rotting body in two different contexts: European baroque imagery and asubha kammaṭṭhāna, a Thai meditational practice. All three types of bodies-as-a-mass are legitimate conceptualizations of what Nancy indicates. However, the mass quality is the very nonconceptuality, which is therefore the ultimate outcome that I had to reach.
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DOI 10.1163/15691640-12341437
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