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  1. Phenomenology of Perception
  2. Phenomenology of perception
  3. 1. Life and Works
  4. Phenomenology of Perception - Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Google книги

Dualism claims a real distinction between soul and body. Likewise, the Psychophysical Parallelism usually recognizes some distinction between the mental and the physical but disregards or does not admit their mutual interaction postures of Leibniz and Spinoza. On the other hand, the Spiritualist Monism denies the notion of body as something really different from the spirit or knowledge idealism of Berkeley.

Moreover, the Psychological Behaviorism attempts to solve certain inner attitudes within the neurophysiological stimulus-response scheme, subjecting these actions to the rigor of the natural sciences Skinner , and the Philosophical Behaviorism explains internal processes through external or public behavior Ryle. Furthermore, the Neurologist Monism, or identity theory, reduces the psychic act and its intentional contents to neuronal activity, so it ends up being called physicalism Paul and Patricia Churchlan.

Then, Emergentism comes about as an opponent to neuronal reductionism, although both positions emerge from a material organization principle Searle, Bunge. Successively, Computational Functionalism arises as an explanation for mental acts and states contrary to behaviorism and neurologism, arguing that mental operations could be computational functions capable of being realized in multiple ways in various material bases Putnam-at the beginning.

The result is a new extreme dualism, since the mental functions could happen independently of the material structure. Consequently, body and mind could exist totally separated. Sanguineti, If rationality and the I are admitted, freedom is implicitly recognized. The latter understanding of the body reduces its object of study to the material by admitting as valid only the experimental scientific method. In this framework, the body can only be explained under the epistemological assumptions of the experimental sciences natural sciences.

Thus, it reduces the body to a material biological reality, and it denies the existence or rational validity to everything that does not fall under such epistemological consideration. However, the ontological mind-body dualism persists in medical practice, since these biological mechanisms do not disappear the subjective personal experience Miresco and Kirmayer As science is aligned with the philosophical reductionist posture, and medicine aligned to science, scientist medicine explanation, which is currently dominant, lays in the machine metaphor, which describes all living entities as machines.

There is evidence of diseases of the psyche resulting in diseases of the body, and vice versa, diseases of the body resulting in diseases of the psyche, and also diseases of the psyche that cannot be allocated in the body or brain. Prior to the disease, there is an I experiencing the disease.

Phenomenology of Perception

This shows, again, that the body cannot be understood without the psyche, the physical and non-physical coexist and each cannot be explained without the other. We can understand a physical mechanism but that does not lead us to understand how the subject experiences it. This cannot be neglected by sciences dealing with the human being i. The relation of the human being to the World is a very important part of experience, thus science has focused on the processes of physical sensation.

We know physical sensations are integrated in the brain, thus we look for the manifestation of the mind or consciousness within it. Cognitive neurosciences research misinterpret this and assume that the mind is instantiated in the brain, and aims to explain how mental phenomena perception, memory, attention, learning, etc.


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Thus, Cognitive neurosciences presumptions are that the brain, by means of neural process, generates the mind. The basic working assumption of cognitive neurosciences is that the mental events are nothing more that a special kind of physical events Repovs However, the individual, its subjectivity, co-founds the structures, functions, neural processes, social and cultural contexts in which the mind is placed.

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Neuroscience neglects this, but is crucial for a wholesome understanding of the human being, as constituted by its inseparable body-psyche. Neurosciences, usually equating consciousness to awareness, is incapable of explaining the qualitative experience that accompanies neural processes.

However, if cognitive neuroscientists escape reductionism and acknowledge the diverse philosophical postures, then they could have a better approach to the study of consciousness by reformulating their experimental questions and hypotheses, even if their experimental procedures are limited to the physical.


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  • In this manuscript, he alludes to the difficulties that physicians have had in scrutinizing the mutual influences exerted between the body and the psyche. Freud was referring directly to a confusion that usually occurs when understanding psychic treatment as soul treatment, separating the psyche from the body. This confusion not only occurred at that time, but also prevails nowadays. Therefore, Freud claims that the word is the only resource to produce a healing psychic influence, for the discomforts of the soul and consequently also the body.

    At the same time, he criticized medicine for its great progress as a science in the XIX century, under the happy influence of natural sciences, while disengaging from the psychic processes of the man. Freud acknowledged the success of medicine and the natural sciences regarding the progress in understanding the anatomy and physiology of the human body, the role of microorganisms in the origin of many diseases, the signs of many morbid processes, and many others.

    He remarked that they ignored an essential aspect of science, which is that science itself is a creation or production of human subjectivity. Nevertheless, in the same document Freud relates that despite this trend followed by the physicians, a parenthesis began to open due to evidence of patients showing discomforts, to which science could not allocate their cause in the body.

    Phenomenology of perception

    Freud modified the notion of the body that prevailed during the XIX century through his incipient clinical practice, which shifted the focus of attention from the symptom to the listening what the patient said. This practice opened a new way of understanding the body, thus becoming the said body inscribed and expressed by the language. In the development of the psychoanalytic theory there is a constant allusion to the body. The notion of the unconscious, the cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory, cannot be understood in any way without considering its relation to the body.

    Therefore, it is important to emphasize that the body referred to in psychoanalysis is not the organism treated in the medical discourse. Moreover, psychoanalysis does not contribute to the knowledge of the biological body nor does it intend to do so. In this line, some of the Lacanian contributions propose to understand the body as something more than the living as biological.

    Lacan proposes that the body is not the primary thing; the subject is not born with it. So understanding the body as a living organism is not enough. Rather, to have a body requires that living organism, but also requires an image of itself. The subject apprehends its own image as a unit like a specular effect that produces the look of another.

    However, the organism is discordant with itself and at first is perceived by the child as a series of fragmented sensations as long as they are not integrated by an image. The other provides this image, resulting in an imaginary identification. Lacan relates this identification with the instauration of the I , the imaginary I.

    1. Life and Works

    The subject is addressed before having a body and is also present when his body is damaged, even when his body dies, as anthropology confirms with the study of graves. The symbolic body is indeed a body, because we can consider it as a system of internal relations. Hence, the organism is not in the language and Lacan considers it as the Real. The organism is the irreducible to language and to knowledge, that which is present but not known.

    Consequently, Lacan referred to the three registers: Real, Symbolic and Imaginary to address the body as a ensemble of identifications. Hence, the great technological advances are not sufficient when applied to assist the diseases of the body. Neither the technology nor other devices of assistance are sufficient when used to attend the organism by themselves.

    Therefore, the medical sciences need to incorporate other discourses based on an understanding of the body that includes subjectivity, instead of focusing only in the organic of the body. Since its origin, psychoanalysis has dealt with a body that has been excluded from the field of work and research of medicine.

    Phenomenology of Perception - Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Google книги

    The medical-scientific discourse leaves out the constitutive subjectivity of the human being. Thus, psychoanalysis emerges precisely to deal with what science discards regarding the knowledge and wisdom about the body, i. In reference to the above mentioned, psychoanalysis, concretely the Freudian theory, departs from the dualist body-mind concept and introduces a field for which the body and affections cannot be considered separately but in close conformation.

    Accordingly, the concept of drive becomes part of the theoretical backbone of psychoanalysis.

    Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenological Epistemology

    Simultaneously, Husserl proposed a phenomenology that establishes the epistemological basis to distinguish between Subject and World. Subject is precisely a consciousness, and everything that is not consciousness is World. In phenomenology, the intentionality of the consciousness 1 implies that it always has to be owned; in other words, the consciousness always has an object.

    Real properties are eo ipso causal ones. To know a thing therefore means to know from experience how it behaves under pressure and impact, in being bent and being broken, when heated and when cooled, etc. Certainly, the human body has a physical-biological dimension but it is not ruled solely by this movement principles. Hence, phenomenology is radically distanced from all forms of empirism and positivism.

    This implies that everything is presented to the human being as a phenomenon. Phenomena appear to the senses, and may or may not correspond to what actually exists in the natural world, so a possible correspondence is not guaranteed. Consequently, the phenomenon is not identical to the real object that is manifested, but is simply the manifestation itself. In other words, the human body is not subjected only to the physical laws, but moves from itself.

    https://tumbfesgilang.cf The inseparability between body and subject is not only spatial, since sensitivity is a quality occupying an entire extension and not located only in a place of the body. The body is linked to a consciousness because is owned, it feels everything and so does the subject. Therefore, sensitivity can be distinguished from mere sensation.