Lisa's Notebook

Writing Exercises by Lisa McNulty.

Drabble - Merleau-Ponty

In the Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty rejects Cartesian dualism. He explores the case of a First World War veteran, Schneider, who suffered a brain injury caused by shrapnel. Schneider wasn’t paralysed, but he was disconnected from his own body. He lost proprioception, and had to look at, find, his limbs before moving them. He operated his body from the inside, as though it were a machine. Merleau-Ponty contrasts Schneider’s experience of his body and the more typical experience to demonstrate that our bodies are not machines operated by the brain, that they aren’t in fact objects at all, but subjects.


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