The philosophical presuppositions of the biranian analysis of the body
Maine de Biran's "discovery" of the subjective body was not an accident. His discovery takes place in a context which makes it inevitable and this context is nothing other than that of a phenomenological ontology. As theme for his investigation, Maine de Biran took the problem of the ego which, as soon became apparent, was able to be solved only through an ontological analysis of the concept of subjectivity: the results of this analysis in turn force him to place the problem of the body upon entirely new foundations, and the problem of the body, correctly interpreted and situated, leads to the problem of the ego with which it is identified. Henceforth, the teaching of Maine de Biran may be summarized in these words: A body is subjective and is the ego itself. In defining man as body, Maine de Biran comes close to materialism, but this is only a false impression whose true meaning is rather the undermining of materialism in its very foundations.
Henry, M. (1975). The philosophical presuppositions of the biranian analysis of the body, in Philosophy and phenomenology of the body, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 11-51.
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