Sartre on Embodiment, Touch, and the “Double Sensation”

Philosophy Today 54 (Supplement):135-141 (2010)

Dermot Moran
University College Dublin
The chapter titled “The Body” in Being and Nothingness offers a groundbreaking, if somewhat neglected, philosophical analysis of embodiment. As part of his “es- say on phenomenological ontology,” he is proposing a new multi-dimensional ontological approach to the body. Sartre’s chapter offers a radical approach to the body and to the ‘flesh’. However, it has not been fully appreciated. Sartre offers three ontological dimensions to embodiment. The first “ontological dimension” addresses the way, as Sartre puts it, “I exist my body.” The second dimension is the manner in which my body is experienced and utilized by the other. This includes my ready-to-hand equipmental engagement with the world and my body as the “tool of tools.” The third dimension is the manner in which “I exist for myself as a body known by the other.” In this paper, I explore Sartre’s original analysis and suggest comparisons with Merleau-Ponty’s account of embodiment. I shall suggest that Sartre offers more discussion on intercorporeality than Merleau-Ponty.
Keywords Sartre  embodiment  Merleau-Ponty  phenomenology  intercorporeality
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DOI philtoday201054Supplement58
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