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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 23, Issue 2, Fall 2009

D. R. Koukal
Pages 305-314

Torture

This paper offers a phenomenological description of torture that delves beneath its mere physical effect on the human body, in order to demonstrate that bodily pain is only one dimension of the experiential structure of torture. In fact, this paper’s central claim is that torture is better understood as a radical ontological violation of a lived world through the body. This claim is supported through Merleau-Ponty’s theory of the embodied subject. The main purpose of this paper is to show that no matter how physically “unscarred” a survivor of torture may be, their lived world remains irretrievably damaged.

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