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Corporeal ontology: Merleau-Ponty, flesh, and posthumanism

McBlane, Angus 2013. Corporeal ontology: Merleau-Ponty, flesh, and posthumanism. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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As posthumanism has developed in the last twenty-five years there has been hesitation in elucidating a robust posthumanist engagement with the body. My thesis redresses this gap in the literature in three intertwined ways. First, it is a critical assessment of posthumanism broadly, focusing on how the body is read in its discourse and how there is a continuation of a humanist telos in terms which revolve around the body. Second, it is a philosophical interrogation, adaptation, and transformation of aspects of the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, focusing its reading on Phenomenology of Perception and The Visible and the Invisible, with additional material drawn from his works on language, aesthetics, and ontology. Third, it is a critical analysis of four films drawn from that seemingly most posthumanist of genres, science fiction: Cronenberg's eXistenZ, Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Rusnak's The Thirteenth Floor, and Oshii's Ghost in the Shell. Science fiction is the meeting place of popular and critical posthumanist imaginaries as the vast majority of texts on posthumanism (in whatever form) ground their analyses in a science fiction of some kind. By reading posthumanism through the work of Merleau-Ponty I outline a posthumanist ontology of corporeality which both demonstrates the limitations of how posthumanism has done its analyses of the body and elucidates an opening and levelling not adequately considered in posthumanist analyses of the body. Following Merleau-Ponty I argue that there is a ‘belongingness of the body to being and the corporeal relevance of every being’, yet, the body is not the singular purview of the human. There are alternative embodiments and bodies which have been previously overlooked and that all bodies (be they embodied organically, technologically, virtually or otherwise) are corporeal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:35

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