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Chiasmi International

Volume 22, 2020

Mirrors and Other Technologies

Samuele Sartori
Pages 317-332

L’epistemologia dell’incorporazione attraverso la storia materiale degli arti artificiali

The aim of this article is to enrich the concept of technological incorporation, as thematized by Merleau-Pontian phenomenology and post-phenomenology, through a study of the material history of artificial prostheses. We will see in the first section that post-phenomenology, by discussing the plasticity of the corporeal schema, did not recognize the importance of technological transformations; that is, it has given little importance to the inorganic, material correlate through which hybridization is possible. Secondly, we will show how Merleau-Ponty, through a reading of Marx, contributes to phenomenology a naturalistic dialectic between material history and corporeity. This relation appears central to our understanding of the constitutively plastic and performative essence of the corporeal schema. The dialectics that technologies institute, however, do not necessarily lead to an increase in one’s perceptive-agentive capacities. The last section of this article investigates this claim through an analysis of the pathology of phantom limbs, in light of the evolution of prosthetic technologies between the two World Wars.

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