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Although anthropologists working with the focus of embodiment can differ as to what the benefits and products of working with a focus on “the problem posed by the body”(Csordas, 1999, 187) consists of, they all draw of the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty focused on the phenomenology of perception, which has since been adopted by anthropologists. His theory was based on two critiques. First he criticised empiricist positivism, for its belief that there could be a clear correspondence between an object and a sensory perceptor. Second he criticised intellectualism, which focused on the mind as the primary mode of existence, Descartes famous ‘I think therefore I am’. These two ways of thinking about perception made assumptions, which for Merleau-Ponty made them outdated. Empiricism assumed the existence of external objects and unbiased sensory capacities and intellectualism assumed the presence of a rational receptor, able to rationalise and understand or create it’s own external. Merleau-Ponty however viewed perceiving as an event where both subject and object are the result of perception. So, constant engagement constructed both the body and the world. We can see then that in his critique of intellectualism, Merleau-Ponty was trying to stress the falsity of the mind:body duality. However, Merleau-Ponty’s view of the subject:object duality is less clear, he points towards its collapse with the idea that subject and object are not part of the preobjective. Another influential thinker, and student of his, however, has a more clear standpoint on this matter. Pierre Bourdieu tried to displace the subject:object duality through his concept of Habitus. Habitus, Bourdieu argued, mediates a bodies relations to the world and other bodies.
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