The Concept of ‘Body Schema’ in Merleau-Ponty’s Account of Embodied Subjectivity

In Bernard Andrieu, Jim Parry, Alessandro Porrovecchio & Olivier Sirost (eds.), Body Ecology and Emersive Leisure. Londýn, Velká Británie: Routledge. pp. 37-50 (2018)
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In his 1953 lectures at the College de France, Merleau-Ponty dedicated much effort to further developing his idea of embodied subject and interpreted fresh sources that he did not use in Phenomenology of Perception. Notably, he studied more in depth the neurological notion of "body schema". According to Merleau-Ponty, the body schema is a practical diagram of our relationships to the world, an action-based norm with reference to which things make sense. Merleau-Ponty more precisely tried to describe the fundamentally dynamic unity of the body, i.e. the fact there are various possibilities how the practical "diagram" of body schema could be de-differentiated (in pathology) or further refined (via cognitive and cultural superstructures, symbolic systems). This chapter summarises Merleau-Ponty's interpretation of the notion, while contrasting it to the more traditional understanding of the body in phenomenology and recent philosophical texts dealing with body schema.
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