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Phenomenology 2005

Volume 5, Issue Part 2, 2007

Selected Essays from North America Part 2

Frank J. Macke
Pages 389-423

Body, Liquidity, and Flesh
Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty, and the Elements of Interpersonal Communication

This essay seeks to consider Merleau-Ponty’s concept of embodiment from the vantage point of Gaston Bachelard’s poetic reflections on the four elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. More specifically, I intend to interpret Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, as articulated in The Visible and the Invisible, as communicative embodiment, and then I seek to understand the communicological feature of flesh in terms of water and liquidity. The thesis of this essay is that the discourse on “embodiment” that follow in Merleau-Ponty’s wake should, regardless of its classification as “postmodern,” be articulated in terms of the “post-Cartesian” consciousness animated by Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology.

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