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Premise

Virgilio Cesarone, Annette Hilt, Antonio Lucci

Abstract


At a historical moment in which a large part of the world’s population, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, found itself – a situation practically unprecedented, in terms of transversality, for our historical experience – severely limited in their freedom of movement, the question about the body, both individual and social arises again urgently.

To what extent can the almost obvious affirmation «I am my own body» be considered a fundamentum inconcussum? Modernity claims a (theoretical and practical) assumption of the body as one’s own at the end of a long phase in the history of Western philosophy. This thought and description rather takes the body as the «low,» «brute» part of the binomial formed with the soul, but hardly gives an answer to the question about the ontological status of the body. Yet, paradoxically, this only makes the constitutive opacity of the body even more evident. Each time the question about the body is raised, there emerges an element of excess that accompanies every attempt to define it, instead of an achieved transparency. The body exceeds all conceptual coercion. It challenges the different attributes of the subject, announcing an extraneousness that inhabits my ego in proximity: The body refuses to be understood, captured in a comprehensive vision, just as it refuses to be reduced to physiological processes exclusively. The body presents itself as manifold and, at the same time, is expressed in many ways. This multiplicity concerns how a body presents itself and expresses itself and how the body gives itself, originally in plural modes: Every body is always a body in the world and a body among the bodies of others. Therefore, the question about the body immediately becomes a question about the collective body, about its ways of being given, of being formed, of being dissolved.

Within this problematic framework, Teoria devotes two issues to the discussion of the problem of the body. The first issue, which we present here, contains essays that deal with the body along historical and conceptual lines, questioning the body as an element of identity, in its essential function of constituting the subject. The second volume will analyze the body mainly in contemporary thought, offering a perspective that analyses both the body’s phenomenological and technological aspects. Above all, it will focus on the passage from the body to bodies, thus considering the eminently political dimension of corporeality.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v41i1.116

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