Tasnim Ismail (UCL) - 2019-20 Students

The Myriad Styles of being Human

I will provide a critical interpretation of the The Visible and the Invisible in order to grasp its ontology. While I will substantiate my interpretation of The Visible and the Invisible by citing original excerpts, I will also try to defend it by drawing on other philosophical literature that I find fruitful for fleshing out the conceptual framework at hand. With this exegetical strategy in mind, I shall proceed in four chapters. Firstly, I shall highlight how, for Merleau-Ponty, our everyday conceptual scheme is characterised by perceptual faith – a pre-reflective commitment to the reality of what is perceived. Secondly, I shall highlight how ontology is supposed to capture our perceptual faith by interrogating that faith. And thirdly, I shall set out the ontological landscape of the Flesh, the incarnate principle of ontology, focusing firstly on the Flesh of the world, secondly on the Flesh of the body, and thirdly on the interrelatedness of the Flesh, all the while stressing its essential characteristic of reversibility. With Merleau-Ponty’s ontology thus envisioned, I shall put forward a fourth and final chapter to explore its implications for the self. Ultimately, we shall see how the concept of bodily Flesh provides a fertile metaphysical framework to account for the myriad styles of being human, while also carving out the space for subversive, new styles of being to come into existence.

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