Being a body and having a body. The twofold temporality of embodied intentionality

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (3):499-521 (2020)
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The body is both the subject and object of intentionality: qua Leib, it experiences worldly things and qua Körper, it is experienced as a thing in the world. This phenomenological differentiation forms the basis for Helmuth Plessner’s anthropological theory of the mediated or eccentric nature of human embodiment, that is, simultaneously we both are a body and have a body. Here, I want to focus on the extent to which this double aspect of embodiment relates to our experience of temporality. Indeed, to question, does this double bodily relation correspond to a twofoldtemporality of embodied intentionality? In the first part of this paper, I differentiate between the intentional temporality of being a body and the temporal experience of having a body. To further my argument, in the second part, I present examples of specific pathologies, as well as liminal cases of bodily experiences, wherein these temporal dimensions, which otherwise go hand-in-hand, become dissociated. Phenomenologically, I want to argue that Husserl’s differentiation between Leib and Körper corresponds to two genetic forms of intentionality – operative and act intentionality – and that these are, in turn, characterized by different temporalities. Anthropologically, I want to argue that having a body – what occurs as an inherent break to human embodiment – is the presupposition for the experience of a stable and object-like time. I will conclude that the double aspect of human embodiment and in particular the thematic experience of having a body enables both the experience of a past, which is remembered, and a future that is planned.



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References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind.Evan Thompson - 2007 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.

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