This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective. Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the work of these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment. The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approach
Chapter 5: Meaning, Action and Desire: A Preliminary Sketch of Embodied Agency
Meaning, Action and Desire: A Preliminary Sketch of Embodied Agency
Men are not machines, not even ghost ridden machines. They are men – a tautology which is sometimes worth remembering.
In Chapter 4 I examined Gilbert Ryle's (1949) critique of dualism. This critique, I argued, is persuasive as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. In particular Ryle fails to adequately address the ‘machine myth’. In this chapter I consider the work of a philosopher who takes the next step: Merleau-Ponty (1962, 1965, 1968). Merleau-Ponty's work is in broad agreement with that of Ryle, despite coming out of a very different philosophical tradition (Merleau-Ponty 1992: 59–72). Like Ryle, he ...