• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this incisive and truly impressive book, Ian Burkitt critically addresses the dualism between mind and body, thought and emotion, rationality and irrationality, and the mental and the material, which haunt the post-Cartesian world. Drawing on the work of contemporary social theorists and feminist writers, he argues that thought and the sense of being a person is inseparable from bodily practices within social relations, even though such active experience may be abstracted and expanded upon through the use of symbols. Overcoming classic dualisms in social thought, Burkitt argues that bodies are not purely the constructs of discourses of power: they are also productive, communicative, and invested with powerful capacities for chang

Introduction
Introduction

And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric

It is often thought today that the human person, the nucleus of the self which is considered to be the soul, is something that can be regarded as separate from the body. When we think of what composes the self we tend to feel as though we are made of a non-fleshy essence which is somehow distinct from our bodily casing, as in the old saying that the body is the temple of the soul. The seventeenth-century French philosopher, René Descartes was so certain that his own essence as a person was distinct from his physical presence as a body that he claimed he was what he ...

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