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Two (actually three) ways of turning to embodiment
The article offers a systematic interpretation of the turn to embodiment in continental philosophy based on the distinction of two different lines of thought: the phenomenological and the ontological. The first of these, which involves the shift of the intensional structures of consciousness into embodied existence, is connected with a tendency to the spiritualisation of the body. The second line returns to the theme of bodily substance as the element of thinking which is endowed with its own causal activity: this line rejects any analogy between embodiment and transcendental subjectivity. In considering the first line, the article works with Husserlian motifs, including the adoption of an Aristotelian analogy of sense perception and the rational faculties, and it traces the development of these motifs up to the attempt at an erotic reduction in the work of J.-L. Marion. In considering the second line attention is given to the link between Deleuze’s conception of the body and Stoic ontology, and to Deleuze’s radicalisation of Spinoza’s conception of the structure of the body as a scheme that is co-extensive with the ideas of the human mind. The article also tackles the question of the connection between cogitative and bodily happening in Merleau-Ponty, in whose work we find elements of both the lines that we have described.